Dear District Attorney Zappala:

On behalf of the Black Political Empowerment Project  Planning Council, the Coalition Against Violence and B-PEP’s Regional Monitoring Project I respectfully request that the charges against CAPA High School student Jordan Miles be dropped. In our opinion this honor student, violinist and viola player has been damaged enough, both physically and psychologically from the brutal beating he received at the hands of three undercover Pittsburgh police officers while going between his mother’s home and that of his grandmother in Homewood on the evening of Jan. 11.


He has even experienced nightmares as a result of this incident. Jordan, who is 5’ 7” and weighs 150 pounds, was unarmed, had no criminal record, and by all accounts has been an outstanding CAPA student, when he was tasered, stomped, choked, kicked and received a piece of a branch through his lip. It is truly hard to fathom how such a beating, which led to Mr. Miles being hospitalized, could be justified. In my more than 40 years of working in civil rights the pictures of a beaten Jordan Miles were among the very worst I have ever seen.

Even if the police “thought” Mr. Miles was guilty of some criminal act, why was it necessary to beat him to a point where he was hardly recognizable? Please keep in mind that Richard Poplowski, who is accused of killing three Pittsburgh police officers on Apr. 4, 2009, was brought into custody in a condition much less dramatic than that of Jordan Miles, whose only crime was apparently being in the right place, but definitely at the wrong time.

The dropping of charges against Jordan Miles is also important in that Mr. Miles is seeking a college education and he does not need a criminal record during this important time of his life. I also think that the dropping of charges might be helpful in bringing about some sense of justice to the citizens of Pittsburgh who have grown tired of too many incidents of brutality on the part of some officers. Dropping of the charges might be helpful in creating a climate for improved police/community relations. We do ask, however, if the Pittsburgh Office of Municipal Investigations and/or the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board find that these officers in fact misused their police powers and committed crimes against Mr. Miles that they be charged appropriately.

Thank you for your consideration of our thoughts and recommendations.

Tim Stevens
The Black Political Empowerment Project, co-convener, Coalition Against Violence

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