Video from Pittsburgh police car must be given to suspect, judge rules
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The Allegheny County district attorney's office must turn over the video from a Pittsburgh police car dashboard camera that may have recorded the entire incident involving a suspect being shot by an officer Nov. 11 in Highland Park.
Attorney Fred Rabner filed a motion to get a copy of the video prior to Leon Ford's preliminary hearing, which has been delayed because of injuries he received when he was shot that night fleeing from officers in a vehicle.
The city of Pittsburgh filed a motion to quash the subpoena, saying the defense had no right to the recording until after charges against Mr. Ford were bound over at a preliminary hearing.
Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning, who held a hearing on the matter Monday, said Mr. Rabner was entitled to the video and ordered the district attorney's office to provide it.
"Obviously, we want to see if there's any contradiction between the video and affidavit," Mr. Rabner said after the hearing. "It's the best evidence."
The attorney said Mr. Ford, 19, has recovered some use of his upper extremities but remains paralyzed below the waist.
He was stopped Nov. 11 when police said he was traveling at a high rate of speed and failed to stop completely at a stop sign. Mr. Ford was pulled over on Farragut Street and provided his license and insurance information. An officer said he was skeptical of the suspect's identity and asked him if he had a twin brother named Lamont.
Another officer, David Derbish, who knew Lamont Ford, arrived, and standing on the passenger side of the car, claimed he saw "a large unnatural bulge" on Mr. Ford's right leg through his sweat pants. Believing it to be a gun, the officers asked Mr. Ford to get out of the vehicle.
When he refused, one officer attempted to remove him, and Officer Derbish jumped inside, fearing Mr. Ford was reaching for a gun.
The suspect tried to drive away with Officer Derbish inside, according to the complaint. He punched the officer several times to try to force him out of the car, according to the complaint. When Mr. Ford didn't stop the car, the officer fired multiple shots at his torso, and the vehicle crashed.
Police found no gun.
Mr. Ford is charged with aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.
First Published January 8, 2013 12:00 am