We’re sure you remember this story about the Jordan Miles beating from a couple years back….
One of three white Pittsburgh police officers being sued for allegedly beating and wrongfully arresting a young black man stuck to his version of events during cross-examination meant to cast doubt on the official police account. Officer Michael Saldutte testified Thursday about the Jan. 12, 2010, arrest of Jordan Miles, then an 18-year-old senior at the city’s performing arts high school.
Saldutte contends Miles appeared to be prowling near a home in a crime-ridden neighborhood that night and seemed to position his body to hide a bulge in his coat pocket, which Saldutte took as a sign that Miles was concealing a weapon. “I figured he had a gun on him,” Saldutte said in describing moments later when his forearm brushed something “hard” in Miles’ pocket while the officer struggled to subdue the teen.
Saldutte contends the “gun” turned out to be a soda bottle, though Miles denies having even that in his pocket. Police have said the bottle was thrown away. Saldutte’s testimony differed from that of Miles, now 20, who alleges Saldutte and co-defendant officers Richard Ewing and David Sisak rousted him simply because Miles was a young black man out an otherwise empty street that frigid, snowy night.
Miles contended he was talking to a friend on a cellphone – which Saldutte denied seeing even though phone records support Miles’ claim – and walking in the street, not near homes, to avoid icy sidewalks. Miles said he panicked when the men rolled up in the unmarked car and began shouting whether he had money, drugs or a gun. Miles said he ran and then struggled with the men because they didn’t identify themselves as police. He said he thought he was being robbed.
But Miles’ attorney, J. Kerrington Lewis, suggested even the initial decision to stop Miles was suspect. Lewis asked Saldutte why he didn’t have Miles produce identification after Miles acknowledged living a few doors down, instead of asking Miles why he was “sneaking around” as Saldutte testified.
He asked Saldutte if he would have handled things differently had Miles been a white teenager in an affluent neighborhood. Lewis also asked Saldutte about the woman whose house police claim Miles was prowling around. Saldutte contends the woman didn’t recognize Miles when Saldutte shined a flashlight on the teen’s face, and said she hadn’t given him permission to be there. But the woman testified last week she was a family friend of Miles, was never asked those questions, and never asked to identify someone in a flashlight beam.
The other officers are expected to testify when the trial resumes Monday.
These police officers ain’ isht and we hope they get what they deserve!!!