Joe Smydo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette—With a partial settlement of Jordan Miles’ federal lawsuit Tuesday, his legal team dropped claims against police department management and cleared the way for a July 15 trial that will focus entirely on the actions of the three officers accused of beating the teenager on a Homewood street.
The civil-rights trial, to be before U.S. District Judge Gary L. Lancaster, will show that Mr. Miles was “beaten up to a pulp” by the officers and that police later fabricated evidence against him, J. Kerrington Lewis, one of Mr. Miles’ attorneys, said.
“We believe our case is very strong, and the Miles family wants a jury, wants this tried and wants people to hear the facts and then decide what happened here. That’s what’s important to them,” Mr. Lewis said.
Under the partial settlement, given final approval Tuesday by Pittsburgh City Council, Mr. Miles will receive $75,000 now for legal fees and costs.
Mr. Miles, in turn, agreed to release the city and its “supervisory employees” from the suit. That means his attorneys won’t argue that the department was poorly managed or that top brass failed to properly train and supervise officers.
Excessive force claims against the officers — Richard Ewing, Michael Saldutte and David Sisak — now will take center stage at the trial. The city agreed to indemnify the officers, meaning it will be on the hook for any costs, punitive damages or compensatory damages that the jury might award.
Police union attorney Bryan Campbell couldn’t be reached Tuesday. In a recent interview, however, he said the partial settlement “really narrows down the issues.”
“Basically what the city wants the case to be tried on is just what happened that particular night, and was the force reasonable given the facts and circumstances known to the officers,” he said.
In addition to excessive force, Mr. Lewis said, the case will include allegations that false information was included in an affidavit supporting Mr. Miles’ arrest.
Staff writer Jonathan Silver contributed.