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Despite rumors, investigation of three Pittsburgh officers continues

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Saturday, Aug. 28, 2010

A federal civil rights investigation into three Pittsburgh officers accused of beating a Homewood teenager remains open despite a flurry of rumors that brought a rebuke from the police chief this week.

"They have not told us the investigation is over," said J. Kerrington Lewis, one of two attorneys representing Jordan Miles, 18, a former Pittsburgh Public Schools student who accused the plainclothes officers of beating him near his Homewood home the night of Jan. 12.

Lewis said Friday his son, attorney John K. Lewis, met with federal officials about six weeks ago to discuss the case. At the meeting, investigators expressed misgivings about prosecuting police officers Richard Ewing, Michael Saldutte and David Sisak.

"They said they were concerned about (Miles') credibility," the senior Lewis said. "They were reticent about moving ahead because of the credibility about one boy against three officers."

He disputed a KDKA-TV report yesterday evening citing the attorney as saying the investigation was finished and that the officers would not be charged.

"He's wrong. I'm telling you he's wrong," Lewis said of a KDKA reporter.

A spokesperson for the Justice Department in Washington said the civil rights case remains open, but declined to comment further.

City officials sought to squelch speculation that the investigation is finished.

"Those rumors need to cease," police Chief Nate Harper said in an e-mail message from spokeswoman Diane Richard.

The three officers remain on paid leave during the FBI civil rights investigation. Each has declined to comment on the case.

Their lawyers said federal officials have not contacted them recently about the case, or told them whether the officers will be charged.

Yarone Zober, chief of staff to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, said he was not aware of any movement in the case.

Miles this week left for his first semester at Penn State, Lewis said. The lawyer said he is considering filing a civil lawsuit against the city.

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