Attorneys in Jordan Miles Civil Trial say it all Comes Down to Credibility - Jury Now Deliberating

Aug 2, 2012

It's now up to the jury to decide if Jordan Miles' civil rights were violated two years ago, when he says he was beaten and wrongfully arrested by three plain-clothes Pittsburgh Police Officers. In closing arguments each side claims the other is making up ridiculous stories.

Attorney Bryan Campbell, who represents Officer Michael Saldutte called Jordan Miles "the boy who cried wolf." He told the jury the young Homewood boy never thought the story of a police beating would go beyond his mother and grandmother, adding Miles' testimony made no sense at all. Miles' version of events was called preposterous, incredible, and not believable.

Miles Attorney J. Kerrington Lewis said Miles is a hard-working and honest young man, who is telling the truth. Lewis said it is the officers who have fabricated a story of what took place the night he was beaten walking to his grandmother's house.

In closing arguments, attorneys for the officers didn't deny there were strikes to Miles by the men. They did hit him and Officer Richard Ewing kneed him in the head. But, they maintain it was the proper level of force to use in the situation, and not excessive.

A picture of Jordan Miles swollen face featured prominently in the media and in the trial, but the officers said he got the extent of his injuries when he fell trying to run from them, and when he was tackled through a bush by Officer David Sisak. Attorneys for the officers say that bush is what tore out a chunk of Miles' hair, while Miles' attorney said that would be nearly impossible, and that it would take a great deal of force to actually pull someone's hair out of their scalp.

Miles sued the officers claiming he was subject to unlawful seizure, excessive force, and malicious prosecution. The officers maintain they had reason to suspect him because he was loitering and prowling in a high-crime neighborhood, plus they thought he had a gun, which they said turned out to be a bottle of Mountain Dew. Lewis calls the officers' claim not just ridiculous, but stupid. Miles has said he did not have a bottle of Mountain Dew on him that night. The officers say they threw the bottle away because it wasn't evidence in a criminal case.

Miles is seeking compensatory and punitive damages in the civil trial. The officers have already been cleared of criminal wrongdoing. Saldutte's attorney, Bryan Campbell, said the whole case is about one thing – money. He questioned whether Miles wanted to go to college at all, and said testimony from the young man's boss at CVS shows he is not unemployable.

But, Miles' attorney Lewis said the man will suffer long-term effects of the night in question, including cognitive trouble, short-term memory issues, insomnia, and other issues. Miles tried to go to college twice, but said in earlier testimony it is very hard for him to understand things and concentrate because of the lingering effects of his head injury.

Lewis said to the jury it all comes down to whose story they believe – Miles or the officers.