Justice for Leon Ford Jr.
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Leon Ford Jr was shot and paralyzed by law enforcement in a case of mistaken identity in November 2012 on a traffic stop in Highland, officers were convinced he was someone else.
"I was terrified," he said. "I didn't know what the officers were going to do to me."
He said former Officer Michael Kosko, who is not party to the lawsuit, grilled him about being Lamont despite him producing his license, registration and insurance papers with the name Leon Ford.
"He got more frustrated," Mr. Ford said of Officer Kosko. "It just seemed like he wanted me to be Lamont Ford. He wouldn't take no for an answer."
Ford's attorney told the jurors that -- despite a computer database check of Ford's driver's license confirming his identity -- the officers questioned whether he was someone else, a known gang member, Lamont Ford, who is unrelated to Leon Ford.
Rabner said that Leon Ford refused to get out of his car when officers urged him to "come back to the cruiser and see how much you look like Lamont Ford." Rabner said when when Ford declined, the officers became verbally abusive.
That was followed by other officers trying to pull Ford from the car as Derbish entered from the passenger's side and began pushing. ...But Ford says the car was inadvertently knocked into gear.
Ford said he couldn’t explain how or why the car drove forward for several seconds until he was shot by Derbish, who was trying to get him to stop the car. Ford denied trying to push the officer out of the moving vehicle, as police claim.
Ford was shot 5 times at point blank range and paralyzed during a traffic stop, he testified that one of the three White officers involved told him repeatedly, “I hope you (expletive) die.”
Ford said his parents taught him how to be respectful to police when he encountered them growing up. Even though he listened to their advice, he was still shot. “Society failed me,” he said.
Ford is represented by four attorneys in the case: Thomas Malone, Fred Rabner, Monte Rabner and Ashley Cagle. The legal team has been working with Ford since he was in the hospital recovering from his injuries five years ago. Malone said that Ford’s case against police officer excessive force is not uncommon, but is different because he is alive to give his own testimony.
“What’s uncommon is, at least recently in America, these victims have died,” Malone said.
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