Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Officers Defend Conduct in Miles Case

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Officers Defend Conduct in Miles Case

Article excerpt

Two Pittsburgh police officers who have faced 2 1/2 years of questions about a three-minute encounter with Jordan Miles made spirited and sometimes combative defenses of their conduct at a civil trial Tuesday, as the case approached conclusion.

"I am not ashamed of anything that happened that night," said Officer Richard Ewing, referring to Jan. 12, 2010, when he and officers Michael Saldutte and David Sisak arrested Mr. Miles. "We were trained to use the least amount of force necessary to make that arrest" and that's what they did, he said.

Later, under cross-examination, Officer Ewing turned to the eight- member jury in obvious frustration. "He was never beat or beaten or attacked, as it has been phrased multiple times," he said.

Mr. Miles' team pinned their argument to the contrary on a phone record that shows the plaintiff talking on his cell at the beginning of the encounter, and on the fact that the officers' accounts have the young man turning, holding his pocket, reaching for his waist and otherwise behaving as if he was hiding a gun, when no gun was found.

"Can you tell me why Jordan Miles would've done all of those things as if he had a weapon," asked J. Kerrington Lewis, one of the plaintiff's attorneys, "when he didn't have a weapon?"

"Sir, you'd definitely need to ask your client that," Officer Ewing said.

U.S. District Judge Gary Lancaster told the jury that testimony would end today or early Thursday, and they could deliberate on Friday. The trial is in its third week, and all three officers have now provided similar accounts of the incident on Homewood's frozen Tioga Street.

They have said they spotted Mr. Miles near a neighbor's house, identified themselves as police and asked him why he was there. He ran, elbowed Officer Saldutte, endured a tackle through a hedge by Officer Sisak and then kicked the latter in the knee, the officers have said.

After Mr. Miles kicked him in the knee, Officer Sisak said, "I didn't really get back into it until I heard Mike say, 'Gun.' "

He said he crawled over to where officers Saldutte and Ewing were struggling with Mr. Miles, and laid on the subject's back. …

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