Community demands justice for Miles

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The battle against police brutality raged on over the weekend when the newly formed Alliance for Police Accountability held a rally calling for justice for Jordan Miles at Freedom Corner in the Hill District.

Miles, a soon-to-be graduate of the Pittsburgh Public High School for Creative and Performing Arts, was allegedly beaten by three undercover police officers in January.

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JUSTICE FOR JORDAN—Organizers march in Downtown Pittsburgh on their way to the City-County building.

“We as a people need to do something about police brutality,” said Raenelle Dixon, whose father Charles Dixon was killed in 2002 by a Wilkinsburg police officer.

The rally on June 12 featured a number of speakers, including Tim Stevens of the Black Political Empowerment Project; activist rapper Jasiri X; community activist Paradise Gray; Green Party congressional candidate Ed Bortz; Bret Grote of the activist group HRC-Fed Up, and Miles’ mother and grandmother and some friends from CAPA.

The march proceeded to the City-County building where organizers demanded that the officers responsible be prosecuted for the beating of Miles and for perjury; an end to racial profiling and police brutality; and community control of law enforcement.

“I thought the rally was very positive. I was extremely impressed with the interracial mix of the turnout and ages as well,” said Stevens. “I think it’s important to keep focused on the issues. Some efforts behind the scenes and others out front keep the focus.”

Young people have played a large role in the recent movement against police brutality, with the majority coming from Miles’ classmates. Stevens said he is happy to see a new generation joining the fight.

“I meant to wear my Jonny Gammage button for the statement it makes,” said Stevens. “Here it is 15 years later and we’re still fighting some of the same battles. It’s a shame that we still have to fight these battles, but the battles are being fought.”

APA, a multicultural alliance consisting of a wide variety of activists and groups, sponsors several projects to improve police accountability including legislative reforms and public actions.

“We can stop police brutality if the officers responsible are brought to justice,” said Brandi Fisher of the Alliance for Police Accountability.

Activists have also called on the mayor to release the Office of Municipal Investigations report on their investigation of the incident.

“The lack of transparency is fueling our anger,” said Gray, a fellow APA organizer.

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