By Nigel Parry
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The jury returned a partial verdict on the Jordan Miles Civil Trial. On the count that the three officers, Saldutte, Sisak and Ewing, were found to have violated Miles’ rights by Malicious Prosecution, the jury found the three officers had not.
At 2:06pm, court resumed and the jury delivered its verdict. On the other two counts Excessive Use of Force and False Arrest, the foreman reported that the jury members were “hopelessly deadlocked”.
The judge therefore declared a mistrial on those two charges, essentially the crux of the case, the lack of probable cause for the cops to have stopped Jordan in the first place, and the beating which by simple photographic prima facie evidence, appears to have been excessive.
If you think about it, the three charges make the most sense when considered chronologically, and indeed are referred to in the court documents in this order. The first count was False Arrest, ie. whether the police had probable cause to approach and arrest Jordan or not. The second count was Excessive Use of Force, whether the police then used more force than necessary during Jordan’s arrest. The third count was Malicious Prosecution, ie. whether the police subsequently knowingly charged Jordan with crimes he didn’t commit.
It seems obvious that you would need to resolve questions about the incident before resolving whether or not the prosecution stemming from the incident was malicious. Many in the community are scratching their heads about that one. The maliciousness of the prosecution would seem to be dependent on the first two charges, even if proffered separately in a basket of other charges.
It also seems notable that the first two charges, which the jury sidestepped citing a “hopeless deadlock”, are the charges relating to what exactly happened on Tioga Street on the night of January 12th, 2010, and not the charge that relates to the legitimacy of the procedural charges that the three cops filed against Miles later. Those charges were dismissed by a judge in Miles’ original criminal case, in an epic drama during which the police narrative failed spectacularly.
Post-verdict video Update including lawyer reactions
Statement from Jordan Miles:
Thank you to all the people that supported me thus far. It is far from over. I will continue to trust God and continue the fight. With God, ALL things are possible (Matt. 19:26). We will see justice.
Charlie Deitch’s article, “Battered and Bruised”
An article appeared towards the end of the day from City Paper journalist Charlie Deitch, who was there daily for most of the trial. The title, “Battered and Bruised: The beating Jordan Miles took in court may take longer to heal”, and writing really do say it all about this disappointing result. An excerpt follows, but do read Charlie’s whole piece:
Jordan Miles’ eye is not swollen shut, this time. There is no knot on his head. His hair hasn’t been ripped out. But after watching the three-week-long trial in his civil-rights lawsuit against three Pittsburgh police officers, it’s hard not to feel like he’s been battered all over again.
The first time took place when he ran afoul of three police on a cold night in January 2010, and it was his body and mind that suffered. (Miles has been diagnosed with a brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.) This time, though, it was Miles’ reputation that bore the brunt, at the hands of three attorneys.
“He’s a fine young man of average intelligence,” oozed Bob Leight, attorney for officer Richard Ewing in his closing argument. “If nothing else, he has a great future at CVS [pharmacy, where Miles currently works] and there’s nothing wrong with that.”
“They say he’s an honor student. … He’s an honor student at CAPA,” condescended Bryan Campbell, attorney for officer Michael Saldutte.
Photos outside the court, after the partial verdict
A second Rustbelt Radio feature about the Jordan Miles civil trial will be broadcast on next Monday’s show, August 13th, 2012 at 6pm on WRCT 88.3FM in Pittsburgh or streaming live on the internet at wrtc.org – or download the show later at radio.indypgh.org – Each show replays on WRCT at 9am the next morning (Tuesday) and the Monday night/Tuesday morning of the following week.Thanks to Don Carpenter, Helen Gerhardt and Kayla Slicker, who formed our Rustbelt Radio team for the trial, taking notes, live-blogging the trial daily for four weeks at JusticeforJordanMiles.com and constructing two 20-minute long feature stories for Rustbelt’s shows.
Thanks also to Brandi, Tim, Jacqueline, Navada, and Samey who helped us with court notes. We will fill out missing areas on the site with your notes as soon as we can. Also, much respect to the various local journalists who beat the court carpets every day, including the good humored City Paper crew and Rich Lord, who always seemed to have the next part of court procedure figured out before anyone else did. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review photographer James Knock’s images of the plaintiffs and defendants exiting and leaving court were amazing and really captured some of the emotions of the trial.
Greatest thanks go to Jordan Miles, Terez Miles, Patricia Porter for having the courage to challenge police impunity in Pittsburgh and not giving up. The family’s statement on the partial verdict can be found here. Many thanks to all the people who sat through the trial with the family and their supporters, and who followed the trial closely.
We will continue updating the Justice for Jordan Miles campaign website at JusticeforJordanMiles.com with material from this trial, and intend to cover future legal moves. During the 4 weeks of the trial, this site delivered 13,000 page views and saw 6,700 visits, 4,400 from unique visitors.
for Rustbelt Radio and JusticeforJordanMiles.com