Miles: Officers never identified themselves during 2010 arrest
In the four years since his arrest, Jordan Miles' life has been dominated by the civil rights lawsuit playing out before a federal jury, the Homewood man said on Thursday.
Miles, 22, testified that he was shocked when another inmate in the Allegheny County Jail told him that he was missing some of his dreadlocks. He used the reflection of a paper towel dispenser to get some idea of what the man was talking about.
When he knew he would have to shave off the rest of his dreadlocks, it depressed him, Miles said.
“I loved my hair,” Miles said. “It meant everything to me. It was something I cherished.”
In response to a question from his attorney, Miles said he hasn't grown his hair long because he wants to present a professional appearance to the jury and knows that dreadlocks carry negative stereotypes.
Regardless of the outcome, once the trial is over, he plans to regrow his hair and move on with his life, he said.
“I'll be able to pick up the things I once loved and do them again,” Miles said.
Miles claims that Pittsburgh police Officers David Sisak and Michael Saldutte and then-Officer Richard Ewing lacked probable cause and used excessive force during his Jan. 12, 2010, arrest on Tioga Street in Homewood.
The officers contend he was acting suspiciously and ran when questioned. This is the second time Miles' lawsuit has gone to trial.
A federal jury in August 2012 deadlocked on the arrest and excessive force claims. The jury, though, found for the officers on Miles' claim that they maliciously prosecuted him on criminal charges that later were dismissed.
Miles took the stand on the seventh day of testimony in this second trial. He was still being cross-examined when U.S. District Judge David Cercone called a halt and sent the jurors home. He later invoked a gag order until after the trial is over.
During testimony, a relaxed and confident Miles told jokes at his own expense while being questioned by one of his lawyers, Joel Sansone.
He said he wanted to learn to play a musical instrument because his two older brothers played piano, but he didn't want a “sissy” instrument like a violin and instead wanted to play a trombone or some other “manly” brass instrument.
He picked the viola because it sounded exotic and he thought it would be some kind of horn.
“I wanted to be different from everybody else,” he said.
When it was too late to change his mind, he opened the case.
“It looked just like a violin,” he told the eight jurors.
During junior high and the first years of high school, he was content to be a C student, Miles said.
“I was more interested in making friends, laughing and having a good time,” he said.
His main interest was impressing girls, and one way he tried to do that was by posting pictures of himself flexing his muscles on his MySpace page, he said.
Sansone put up a picture of a teenage Miles in his underwear.
“What are we looking at here?” he asked.
“An embarrassment,” Miles answered.
When Sansone asked whether pictures like that impressed girls, he responded, “Definitely does.”
Miles said his attitude changed in the 11th grade. He started pushing himself to get A's and B's and make the honor roll. He developed a passion for playing his viola, particularly in a string quartet.
“When you make music with people, it's one of the greatest feelings in life,” he said.
Under cross-examination by James Wymard, Sisak's lawyer, Miles became more guarded and somber.
Taking him through the two days before his arrest, Wymard questioned why Miles wasn't doing any homework if he had become a dedicated student.
He questioned why details that were clear to Miles in previous testimony, such as the Timberland boots he was wearing or where the officers actually arrested him, were fuzzy this time around.
Testimony is scheduled to resume on Monday.
Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- LaBar: Extreme Rules was entertaining and smart
- Traveling amateur organists entertain fellow seniors with oldies music
- Reports grim for Pennsylvania’s state-run veterans homes
- Westmoreland County municipalities push to clean up litter, dumps
- Coach Johnston trying to figure out why Penguins ‘fell off a cliff’
- Forbes Avenue jeweler’s embedded sidewalk sign safely slides out to make way for Pittsburgh Playhouse project
- Lawyers donate thousands of dollars to Pennsylvania Supreme Court race
- Protest planned Monday at Plum Borough High School
- Senior at Pittsburgh’s CAPA school focuses spotlight on homeless students
- Injured Penguins optimistic about returning next season
- Crosby, Malkin want to remain in Pittsburgh