The Faces of 90.5 WESA
Wed August 8, 2012
Jury Finds in Favor of Police on One Count
A jury found that Jordan Miles was not subject to malicious prosecution the night of January 12, 2010, but the panel was “hopelessly deadlocked” on the other two counts, and a partial mistrial was declared.
Jordan Miles sued three Pittsburgh Police for malicious prosecution, unlawful arrest, and excessive force. The young black man was walking from his mother’s house to his grandmother's, a walk he took every night. The events of what happened differ widely between Miles and the three officers. Miles contends he was walking in the street when the men drove up in an unmarked car, jumped out at him and demanded guns, drugs, and money. Miles said he thought he was being robbed, since the officers were not in uniform and didn’t say they were police.
The officers said they did drive up to him, but identified themselves as Pittsburgh Police officers. And they said he was not walking in the street, but was “sneaking around” a house on Tioga Street. When they asked him what he was doing sneaking around, they said, he turned and ran. That’s when they said he fell on his face. Then, officer David Sisak testified during the trial, he tackled Miles into some bushes.
Miles was arrested for prowling and loitering, resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer.
“We’re going to come back and the evidence is going to prove that excessive force was used, in our opinion, and another jury is going to have an opportunity to make a decision about what happened. It’s not something we’re happy about. On the other hand, of all the other claims we’ve made in this case that was probably the least important,” said Miles Attorney J. Kerrington Lewis.
Attorneys for the police are pleased with the verdict. Attorney for Michael Saldutte, Bryan Campbell, said Miles’ attorneys should think long and hard before going forward on the other two counts. “The version of the incident given by Jordan Miles was not believed by this verdict,” Campbell said. “So they have to examine it, and say, ‘Will another jury come to another conclusion?’ This jury believed the version the officers gave.”
The attorneys spoke to reporters after the partial verdict came down. Campbell was asked what he thought about concerns from attorneys and some Miles supporters that it was hard to get a verdict against a police officer.
“Well it’s because the cops are usually right and I think a lot of time these suits are filed because people don’t know how officers are trained, what they’re trained to do and what is legitimate police work.”
Miles’ attorneys say the fight isn’t over. They plan to pursue the wrongful arrest and excessive force allegations in a second trial. After the partial verdict came down, the Justice for Jordan Miles campaign quoted a Facebook post from him in which he thanked supporters and said it is far from over.