PITTSBURGH — Attorneys have told a federal jury a trial into whether a Pittsburgh police officer violated the rights of a man by shooting and paralyzing him as he sped away from a traffic stop is one of perspective.

Attorney Joseph Santarone Jr. said jurors must look at it “from the officers’ standpoint” in his opening statement Wednesday on behalf of Officers David Derbish and Andrew Miller. Miller is accused of assault and battery for trying to drag Leon Ford from a car.

An attorney for Ford likens the 2012 traffic stop to an episode of “Keystone Cops.” Ford’s attorneys say police escalated the situation by mistaking Ford for a wanted gang member.

Santarone contends Derbish shot Ford only because Derbish “feared for his life” when Ford tried to drive away with Derbish partially in the car.


This story has been corrected by deleting an incorrect name for a lawyer.