Local
1:42 pm
Fri October 21, 2011

Rally to Demand Firing, Prosecution of Police in Jordan Miles Case

Throngs of black-clad activists will continue the "Justice for Jordan Miles" campaign in Market Square on Saturday.

Hundreds are expected to gather there to demand the firing and prosecution of three Pittsburgh police officers for what they call the "horrific and brutal beating" of 18-year-old CAPA student Jordan Miles last year.

Brandi Fisher, Chairwoman of the Alliance for Police Accountability, said the rally coincides with the 16th National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality. Protesters will don black clothes in solidarity with victims of police violence.

"We thought, 'What better day to remind the DA that we still would like justice for the brutal attack that Jordan Miles suffered?'" said Fisher.

Fisher said she expects at least 200 people to crowd Market Square at one o'clock on Saturday, and perhaps more if members of the Occupy Pittsburgh protest come to support the rally.

The show of support comes on the heels of a Pittsburgh Police reform measure signed into law on Thursday. Activists now want to pressure Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala into pursuing charges against Officers Richard Ewing, Michael Saldutte, and David Sisak for the beating of Miles in the January of 2010.

Ewing, Saldutte, and Sisak were patrolling undercover when they told Miles to stop on a Homewood street. The officers said that they thought the young African-American man had a weapon. Not recognizing the three as policemen, Miles ran, and was chased down and beaten by the officers. Miles was unarmed at the time, walking to his grandmother's house.

The officers were put on paid leave during federal and local investigations into the matter. They returned to duty this May.

Five months after the U.S. Department of Justice decided against a civil rights lawsuit against the three officers, Zappala has not said whether he will prosecute them.

"I think they're hoping that, yes, we will go away, that we stay silent, which is why we're not staying silent, because I know [prosecution's] possible," said Fisher.

Miles still suffers from neurological damage caused by the attack, said Fisher, and wasn't able to attend the signing of the Jordan Miles Public Safety Agenda because of a medical appointment.

Fisher said rally organizers will also pay homage to past victims of police brutality and racially-driven violence.

"Since it's a national day, we'll be talking about some of those from the past, such as Johnny Gammage, such as Emmett Till," said Fisher. Gammage was a black businessman killed by police outside of Pittsburgh in 1995; Till was an African-American boy killed by two white men in Missippi in 1955.