by Kevin Begos
PITTSBURGH (AP) — No charges will be filed against three white Pittsburgh police officers who were accused of using excessive force in beating a black teenager, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said at a news conference there isn’t a prosecutable case against the officers. Jordan Miles was an 18-year-old student at the city’s performing arts high school at the time of the 2010 beating.
|NO CHARGES–In this Jan. 22, 2010 photo, Jordan Miles, then an 18-year-old high school student, talks about his hopes to go to college to study crime scene investigation at his home in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)
The undercover officers contend Miles ran and resisted after appearing to have a gun, but it was a soda bottle. Miles denied even having the bottle and claimed he was targeted simply because he was a young black man.
Zappala’s announcement came a day after a county councilman suggested investigating possible conflicts of interests in the DA’s office in cases involving citizens’ claims of police misconduct.
Miles’ lawyer, J. Kerrington Lewis, said he feels Zappala should have excused himself from the investigation long ago, because he represented the officers who beat the youth.
“I don’t think he should render an opinion, because he did have a conflict and still does,” Lewis told the AP, adding that Zappala could have referred the case to the attorney general’s office.
Mike Manko, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, said there are guidelines for such decisions and that no scenario existed for the case to be turned over to the attorney general’s office.
Lewis said Zappala’s decision not to bring criminal charges won’t have an impact on a civil trial seeking damages that is scheduled to begin July 16.
The Pittsburgh City Council approved a $75,000 partial settlement with Miles, but has agreed to pay any future judgments against the officers.
Miles claims the officers kicked and punched him and filed false charges against him, which were later dismissed. According to the lawsuit, Miles recited “The Lord’s Prayer,” prompting police to twice choke him and slam his face into the snowy ground.
The three officers were suspended with pay for more than 15 months, and then reinstated after a city investigation failed to “prove or disprove” allegations that they wrongly beat Miles.
Last year, the Justice Department chose not to file criminal civil rights charges against the officers.