Less than a week after the 2018 midterm elections, a Black man who was paralyzed in a 2012 police shooting wants to campaign for office in 2019.
Leon Ford announced on Sunday, exactly six years after the shooting, that he’s campaigning for a seat on the Pittsburgh City Council, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
The 25-year-old candidate, who was surrounded by family, friends, and supporters, vowed to amplify the voices of Black people and the youth in his community if elected.
“I think that from the response alone, you see people excited in a way they’ve never really been excited for a city council race in a very long time, from elders to the youth,” said Ford.
It’s not too soon for politicians to begin focusing on the off-year election. In 2019, gubernatorial races will headline down-ballot elections in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Several state, local legislatures, and mayoral races are also on tap.
Ford entered the spotlight in Pittsburgh in a disturbing case of alleged police excessive force. Pittsburgh Police Officer David Derbish shot him five times during a November 2012 traffic stop and a second officer was accused of assaulting him. A lengthy federal trial in 2017 ended with a jury in deadlocked on Derbish’s liability. After a second trial was scheduled to get underway, Pittsburgh settled the case for $5.5 million in January 2018.
“We are very happy for Leon and his family to have closure so he can move forward and be the great and successful man he is destined to be,” a statement from Ford’s lawyer said following the settlement.
Ford is indeed moving forward with his life. He’s competing as a Democrat, and he has the May 21 primary circled on his calendar.