On Aug. 8, the jury in the Jordan Miles civil rights case reached a partial verdict in finding the three officers accused of beating Miles, not guilty of malicious prosecution. On the other two claims of false arrest and excessive force, the jury could not reach a verdict.
Since then Miles’ lawyers have said they plan to file a motion for a new trial on the malicious prosecution claim and pursue a second trial on the other two claims. And while Miles’ supporters have been voicing their outrage over the past week, they’re already moving on to their next plan of attack.
“We plan to request that our Pennsylvania attorney general file charges against the police officers,” said Brandi Fisher, president of the Alliance for Police Accountability. “It’s the same measure we’ve always taken but we’re just going to continue until we exhaust all of them.”
Thus continues the more than two year saga emerging from the night of Jan. 12, 2010 when Miles, a former CAPA High School student, was allegedly beaten by Pittsburgh police officers Richard Ewing, Michael Saldutte and David Sisak.
“The facts of the case make it a no-brainer. When things like this happen to people, something needs to be done about it,” Fisher said. “This is not something new with these officers.”
While the eight-person jury cleared the three officers of malicious prosecution, the votes were 6-2 against the other two claims. The lone African-American juror, who served as jury foreman, was one of the two jurors voting in favor of the claims of false arrest and excessive force.
In their next move, the Alliance for Police Accountability, which has led the community effort in the Miles case, will call on Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly to prosecute the three officers after both Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala and federal prosecutors decline to do so.
“We’ve been circulating petitions now. We have over 1000 signatures already. We plan to do this with a lot more people than we have in the past. This case just can’t occur this way. This is unacceptable completely,” Fisher said. “Whatever relationships people have that’s allowing this to go this way, we’re just encouraging our attorney general to take a stand. It won’t just be community people now; it will be leaders throughout the region.”
Several members of the community voicing their concerns through the online social networking site Facebook were critical of Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper. In statements to the media and throughout his testimony during the civil rights trial, Harper avowed the three officers were innocent of any wrongdoing.
“I guess that in a time when people are going to jail (animal cruelty) for leaving dogs in hot weather, the blatant attacks on Black lives, even by the police, doesn’t seem to be viewed as a crime,” said Marlon Lucas. “Big shout out to Chief Nate Harper, you sided with the Good ‘Ol Boys to save your job.”
“This is Pittsburgh. The conduct of those police officers is permitted and protected,” said Carla Kelley Wilson. “Lets deal with the truth Jordan Miles was beaten by three cops. OK, who’s next? This is the message we send our Black males/community. We are going backwards. Thanks Nate. I pray for your courage too.”
Others said police misconduct promotes the distrustful relationship between police officers and many in the Black community.
“…It adds more credence to my belief that of all the difficulties assailing a Black male in America, it is very often the conduct of the police that most immediately and perhaps most deeply provokes our rage. For it adds to our other degradations the corrosion of fear,” said Weeb Young. “It also strikes at the core of our sense of self, of what dignity we have been able to muster and maintain. Our rage is magnified whenever we are subjected to unnecessary force.”