Miles' attorney says the case is about 'abuse of power'
Even in their version of what happened, three police officers used excessive force when they arrested a Homewood man, an expert witness said on Tuesday.
R. Paul McCauley, a retired Indiana University of Pennsylvania criminology professor, said trained officers should have been able to subdue Jordan Miles without resorting to force.
“Given the totality of the circumstances, the officers had no reason to strike Jordan Miles multiple times in the head,” he said in the opening day of a civil lawsuit against the officers.
Miles, 22, says that Pittsburgh Officers Michael Saldutte and David Sisak and then-Officer Richard Ewing lacked probable cause and beat him during the Jan. 12, 2010, arrest on Tioga Street in Homewood.
The officers say Miles acted suspiciously and tried to run when they questioned him.
McCauley, called to the stand by Miles' attorneys, will resume testifying on Wednesday. His testimony had not finished when U.S. District Judge David Cercone adjourned for the day. Other witnesses scheduled to testify include an officer who drove Miles to the hospital and at least one of the defendants.
Patricia Porter, Miles' grandmother, testified that Miles recovered physically but shows some mental signs of trauma.
Miles lives with Porter and works at a pharmacy, she said.
He has trouble sleeping and is reluctant to get into new situations, but he opens up more than he did in the weeks after his arrest, she said.
“He'll talk to you more now,” Porter said. “I can hear him upstairs on the phone with his friends, laughing.”
In opening statements, one of Miles' attorneys told jurors that his client's recollection of what happened is probably less accurate than that of the police because of trauma. The officers stayed at the scene and discussed what happened while Miles was on his way to a hospital and then jail, attorney Robert Giroux said.
“What this case is about, we believe, is abuse of power,” Giroux said.
Giroux said the encounter scared Miles because he didn't understand why three men jumped him. He spent most of his time with his back to the officers, trying to get away, Giroux said.
“I'm not here to tell you these officers are bad people,” he said. “I'm not here to tell you they're bad officers.”
In the course of working the streets, however, the officers repeatedly “crossed the line” of legal behavior until “someday, they can't even see the line,” he said.
James Wymard, the lawyer for Sisak, said the officers were patrolling a high-crime area and specifically checking abandoned houses that drug dealers reportedly used when they spotted someone loitering beside a house. When they turned their car around and came back, they saw Miles and stopped to question him. If Miles had simply answered their questions, “we wouldn't be here today,” he said.
The trial is expected to take at least two weeks.
Brian Bowling is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-325-4301 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Bettis to be enshrined in Pro Football Hall of Fame
- PBT stages elaborate new production of ‘Beauty and the Beast’
- Pitt upsets No. 8 Notre Dame to snap losing streak
- Tennessee QB considers transfer to Pitt
- Accused Kennedy killer’s casket must go to brother, judge rules
- Burrell wrestling wins 9th straight Class AA team title
- Central Catholic safety Petrishen to sign with Penn State
- Natural gas industry buys share of Super Bowl spotlight
- Franklin Regional wrestling rallies to top Belle Vernon, defend team title
- GOP endorses 3 for Pennsylvania Supreme Court
- Easy chicken dishes that won’t put you in a stew