Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Expert Backs Officers' Actions in Jordan Miles Case

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Expert Backs Officers' Actions in Jordan Miles Case

Article excerpt

When Pittsburgh police saw Jordan Miles between two houses on a snowy night in Homewood in 2010, they had good reason to stop him, and did so, setting off a chain reaction in which the officers acted reasonably, a law enforcement expert testified at a civil trial Wednesday,

"It's 11 o'clock at night. It's 5 degrees out. He's up in the alley of a house where he doesn't live," said that expert, Joseph J. Stine, a former police inspector for Philadelphia, where he was in charge of training. "Had they not stopped him, they would be derelict in their duty."

He based those statements on the officers' accounts.

"If you accept Mr. Miles' version of what happened, would the police officers' actions be wrong?" asked U.S. District Chief Judge Gary Lancaster.

"Yes," Mr. Stine said.

Mr. Stine closed out the defense's case in the three-week trial. Closing arguments are set to start this morning, and a verdict is possible by week's end.

Legally, that would resolve the question of whether officers Richard Ewing, Michael Saldutte and David Sisak were wrong when they stopped Mr. Miles, arrested him, used force to subdue him and charged him with crimes.

Mr. Miles has said he was walking from his mother's house to his grandmother's when an unmarked car pulled up and three men jumped out, chased him and beat him before and after handcuffing him. He said he later learned they were police.

Responding to questions by defense attorney Robert Leight, Mr. Stine undermined every pillar of Mr. Miles' account.

Not identifying themselves as police "would be contrary to every concept of officer safety that exists," Mr. Stine said. "They had their badges out. They showed their badges. They said, 'Police.' "

When Mr. Miles revealed that the house he was near was not his own, the officers had reason to stop him, and he lost the right to walk or run away, Mr. Stine said. The sight of a bulge in his jacket pocket gave them the right to frisk him, he said.

Mr. Miles' team has noted that the then-18-year-old viola player weighed 150 pounds, and the officers are trained fighters who totaled more than 600 pounds.

"It's much easier to resist being arrested than it is to apply the force necessary" to overcome resistance, Mr. …

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