Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Police, Civilian Give Testimony in Miles' Lawsuit Woman's Account Differs from Officers'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Police, Civilian Give Testimony in Miles' Lawsuit Woman's Account Differs from Officers'

Article excerpt

The police chief backed his men, but a woman's pivotal testimony undercut them during the fourth day of testimony in the Jordan Miles civil trial.

The 20-year-old plaintiff's team was counting on Monica Wooding, a 37-year-old home health aide, to contradict police claims that she denied knowing Mr. Miles immediately following the Jan. 12, 2010, incident that spurred the lawsuit. She testified Tuesday that she didn't even know he had been arrested until days later.

"Whoever was going to jail was already in the paddy wagon when I opened my window," she said.

Mr. Miles testified last week that he was walking on Tioga Street, in front of Ms. Wooding's house, when police pulled an unmarked car in front of him, jumped out, chased him down and beat him.

Pittsburgh officers Richard Ewing, Michael Saldutte and David Sisak have said they identified themselves as police when they saw him sneaking around Ms. Wooding's house, he ran, and they only used force because they mistook a bottle for a gun and he resisted.

Their reports indicated that they showed Mr. Miles to Ms. Wooding, and she denied knowing him or permitting him to be on her property. But Ms. Wooding testified at a March 2010 preliminary hearing that she did not deny knowing Mr. Miles, which resulted in charges against him being dropped.

Attorney James Wymard, representing Officer Sisak, had Ms. Wooding confirm that the officer asked her, three times, if somebody had tried to break into her house.

Mr. Wymard also asked Ms. Wooding if she had been persuaded to change her story to help out Mr. Miles, a neighbor with whose family she is friendly. "Now, that part is incorrect," she protested.

To bolster the officers' contentions that they tackled Mr. Miles through bushes and trash cans, Mr. Wymard showed Ms. Wooding photos of broken shrubs in her front yard. He also had her confirm that her trash cans were out of place when she looked out of the window.

Earlier, under questioning by attorney J. Kerrington Lewis, who represents Mr. Miles, city police Chief Nate Harper said he hadn't known that Officer Sisak lost a flashlight in the incident.

"That flashlight very well could've been the hard object," with which Mr. …

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