Activist Leon Ford Jr. Learns How To Walk After Police Shooting Left Him Paralyzed

Nearly five years after he was left paralyzed from the waist down in an unlawful police shooting, activist Leon Ford Jr. is learning how to walk again.

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Over the years, Ford has shown his progress since the Nov. 2012 incident that changed his life. Ford was 21 when he was shot five times by Pittsburgh police during a traffic stop. In a series of incidents that broke numerous bureau polices, the father nearly lost his life.

He didn’t let the life-altering moment bring him down. In the years that followed, Ford has engaged in protests and speaking engagements against police brutality and civil rights for people of color–all from his wheelchair.

On Monday (Aug. 7), Ford shared footage of a recent physical therapy session that shows his remarkable progress.

“Being shot five times by a police officer couldn’t kill me, ” he captioned a photo of him standing tall via Twitter. “Doctor’s saying I would never walk couldn’t stop me. I can write my destiny.”

Speaking to VICE in 2015, the activist shared some of troubles fighting for the end of oppression as well as the struggles he dealt with while trying to rebuild his life. After the shooting, Ford was charged for aggravated assault, resisting arrest, escape and reckless endangerment. The former was eventually dropped in 2015 with the jury left deadlocked on the remaining three.

“Just imagine being shot, waking up, and finding out you’re paralyzed—then finding out you’re being charged, you’re facing a lot of years in prison,” Ford said. “I really didn’t know how to feel. I was in a deep stage of depression for a long time.” The officers involved in the shooting are reportedly still working, with the officer who shot him on desk duty.

“When an officer shoots somebody and goes on paid leave then gets his job back, I don’t think that’s good for the department,” added. “It’s showing these officers even when you do a bad thing, you’re still accepted, you’re still loved, you’re still one of us.”

For his recent social media posts, Ford has added the date 11/11/17, in reference to a potential film about his story. If you feel like crying your eyes out, check out Ford’s amazing story above and on his social pages here.

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