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Jury: White officers falsely arrested black teen

Art Student Beaten

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Three white officers accused in a federal civil rights lawsuit of beating a black art student falsely arrested him but didn't use excessive force, a jury found Monday, awarding him $119,000 in damages.

The all-white jury of four men and four women reached a split verdict in 22-year-old Jordan Miles' lawsuit against officers David Sisak, Michael Saldutte and Richard Ewing. They found the officers liable for falsely arresting Miles but found them not liable for using excessive force to beat him.

The jurors awarded Miles $101,000 in compensatory damages and $6,000 from each officer for punitive damages for acting "maliciously and wantonly."

Miles' attorney, Joel Sansone, said he was gratified but confused by the verdict because he didn't understand how the jurors came to a decision on the damages or concluded that the officers were wrong to arrest Jordan but not wrong to beat him. In closing arguments, Sansone didn't ask for a specific amount in damages but hinted to the jury that millions of dollars may be appropriate.

"The only thing he wanted to hear was that these officers did the wrong thing," Sansone said after the verdict.

Miles had claimed the officers confronted him in January 2010 while he was walking to his grandmother's house to spend the night. He says they assumed he was a drug dealer because of his race and dreadlocks and beat him. At the time, he was an 18-year-old senior at Pittsburgh's performing arts high school and had no history of police trouble.

The officers say they got rough with Miles because he fought with them while they mistakenly thought he had a gun.

The verdict stemmed from a retrial granted after another jury two years ago rejected Miles' civil rights claims that police maliciously prosecuted him for assault, resisting arrest and other crimes when he ran from and fought with police on Jan. 12, 2010. The criminal charges were dismissed weeks after Miles' arrest by a city magistrate who said he didn't believe the police version of events.

But the first federal court jury in August 2012 couldn't decide whether Miles had been wrongfully arrested or whether police used excessive force in the process, leading to a retrial on those civil rights claims.

Miles contends he was talking on his cellphone to his girlfriend while walking a block to his grandmother's house, where he routinely spent the night, when the plainclothes officers rolled up in an unmarked car asking for money, drugs and a gun without identifying themselves. His lawyers contend that practice - which police denied using - is commonly known as a "jump out" and used to put suspected drug dealers on the defensive.

The officers maintain they flashed their badges and yelled "Police!" and stopped Miles only because he appeared to be lurking near a neighbor's home. They claim Miles panicked and ran after being asked why he was "sneaking around" - and the confrontation escalated when Miles purportedly elbowed Saldutte in the head, then kicked Sisak in the knee, before officers mistook a "bulge" in Miles' coat pocket for a gun.

The officers contend they discovered the bulge was from a bottle of Mountain Dew. Miles denies carrying the bottle; officers say they later threw it away.

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andremoore221 March 31 2014 at 3:29 PM


Flag Reply +2 rate up
ajwfromo March 31 2014 at 3:30 PM

The case was not worth millions, cops found guilty and he got some money. Hope he does wise with it and put's it to good use, may his education.

Flag Reply +11 rate up
2 replies
tofjr ajwfromo March 31 2014 at 3:38 PM

Huh! No chance. Just a few years drug and booze supply for this clown.....................

Flag Reply +1 rate up
beehappy898 ajwfromo March 31 2014 at 3:44 PM

The way he looks he will Bee using it for medical bills. That is why he should have gotten millions. When you hit people in their pocketbook they have a reason to learn & will think before they use the same old ways when confronting people.
This goes from Companies, Banks, Wall street. You know the people that took your money from you back in 2008

Flag Reply 0 rate up
madddddddddddddd March 31 2014 at 3:31 PM

is this justice???????????????? i cant tell

Flag Reply +1 rate up
clarholmjr March 31 2014 at 3:34 PM

Given that it was an all-white jury, I have to say it is encouraging to see Miles got what justice he got. But I am as confused as Miles' attorney: how could the jury say the officers were wrong to arrest him but not wrong to beat him? Scratching my head on that one.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
Al-Murabit March 31 2014 at 3:34 PM

My old man once said "Son, a broken clock can be right once a day". You can apply that here. How many other verdicts did all white juries fck up when comes to Blacks? How many dudes, within the last year, have been released from the pen because of the fck up's of all white juries? So they get this one right. That's like spitting in the ocean

Flag Reply +2 rate up
mgocean95 March 31 2014 at 3:34 PM

Typical cops think they are above the law and three against one . Go figure. After the corrupt cops were held responsible, their pensions must be given to the innocent victim

Flag Reply +1 rate up
billyboy March 31 2014 at 3:34 PM

"American Justice" yawns again. What a country.

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kintograce March 31 2014 at 3:35 PM

If someone commits a crime, and you don't fine them guilty, you as well as them will be guilty of that crime, God will hold all parties accountable: you are helping others to commit injustice.

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Kay March 31 2014 at 3:36 PM

Why would the police throw the bottle away, that should be their evidence, why? they are lying.
You know why they are lying, because there were no bottle in the first place, and how comes the juriors did not find the officers guilty of wrongful beating, but they found them of wrongful arrest, that doesn't make any sense at all.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
tomatescaliente March 31 2014 at 3:36 PM

Cops lie and people die.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
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