By now people all over the country have witnessed the brutal beating of honor student and violist Jordan Miles by Pittsburgh Police officers Michael Saldutte, David Sisak and Richard Ewing. Jordan was walking to his grandmother’s house when he was approached by the officers, who jumped out of an unmarked car in plain clothes demanding “Where’s the gun? Where are the drugs?” Jordan, who has no criminal record and thought he was being robbed, ran. Unfortunately, the “police officers” caught him, and all three beat 5’6’’ 150 pound Jordan until he looked like this. Yep, they even ripped out part of his hair. Of course they found no guns or drugs, but still proceeded to charge Jordan Miles with loitering, aggravated assault, and resisting arrest.
Those extremely bogus charges were dismissed because officers Michael Saldutte, David Sisak and Richard Ewing basically filed a false police report. They claimed they got a call from a neighbor, Monica Wooding, who said Jordan was loitering on her property. Ms. Wooding not only testified, under oath, that she didn’t make the complaint, but also she has known Jordan, “for years.”
So, how were these officers disciplined? They were suspended with pay, and not just regular pay, but overtime pay as well. While this case has been “under investigation” for over a year those three officers have received over $230,000. And even though 2 of the 3 officers, Michael Saldutte and David Sisak have been accused in a number of complaints before, the Pittsburgh Fraternal Order of Police have staunchly defended them, lobbied for their overtime, and even made sure the city of Pittsburgh gave the officers awards.
So when recently, some genius decided to create a fake press release, claiming the FOP had switched their position and were no longer blindly supporting officers Michael Saldutte, David Sisak and Richard Ewing, it “enraged” FOP President Michael O’Hara. In fact he was so angry O’Hara said, “We’re calling the FBI into this. I will make it my personal mission to find out who did this, and I will bring them down.” That’s right he’s not upset that his officers beat an innocent student almost to death and then lied to try to cover it up and send said student to jail, but don’t you dare tamper with the FOP logo or try and copy their letterhead!
Mr. O’Hara and the FOP kept their word when a few days ago the police raided a local business trying to find information about who created and circulated the bogus release. Yes, Pittsburghers, the police used taxpayer money and manpower to temporarily shut down a small business and confiscate its computers, because the FOP was embarrassed.
This is in light of the fact that prosecution of real crimes dropped in 2010. According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, the Pittsburgh police bureau’s homicide “clearance rate” dropped from 72 percent in 2009 to about 50 percent in 2010, the second-lowest rate in a decade. Police officials themselves said they suffered a 22 percent drop in gun seizures through November. And who did the police blame for this drop in arrests? Incredibly, Officer Dan O’Hara, president of Fraternal Order of Police Fort Pitt Lodge No. 1 blamed…Jordan Miles. O’Hara said, “Other officers see that and might tend to not be so aggressive in going after guns because they are afraid of the backlash just for doing their jobs.”
Backlash? What kinda backlash is being paid your salary plus overtime over a year for doing nothing? O’hara said, “I think it’s safe to say that if they (officers Michael Saldutte, David Sisak and Richard Ewing) were still on the street, they would have made many more arrests and seizures and maybe the city wouldn’t be down more than 100 gun seizures.” Imagine if “they” had been fired and replaced by competent, honest officers? Maybe WE would have a safer community and wouldn’t have to pay salary and overtime for cops that don’t work and raids that don’t matter.
But the cost doesn’t just stop there. According to new reports settlements in police misconduct cases have cost the roughly $300,000, with another $150,000 coming down the pike. This does not include the eventual settlement the city will have to pay to the Miles family, and guess who foots the bill? In the wake of the savage beating of Jordan Miles the FOP said officers Michael Saldutte, David Sisak and Richard Ewing were simply following the training they were given. I wonder how drastically that training would change if the FOP had to reimburse us taxpayers for its officer’s misconduct?