A former high school student who was assaulted by three Pittsburgh police officers in 2010 said that he did nothing wrong during testimony on Thursday.
Jordan Miles, who is black, filed a civil rights lawsuit. He claims the officers, who are white, wrongfully arrested him and used excessive force.
Miles testified that the officers, who were in an unmarked car, didn’t identify themselves and that he thought they were muggers when they rushed at him at about 11 p.m. He said he had never before been arrested, played the viola in school and was an honors student.
Miles’ attorney introduced pictures taken at a hospital after the arrest that showed his face swollen almost beyond recognition and said examinations showed he could have been hit 14 times in the head. The officers acknowledge kneeing Miles repeatedly and punching him in the head, but they said that was all necessary to keep him from reaching for what they believed was a gun.
The officers, Michael Saldutte, David Sisak and Richard Ewing, say many of Miles’ facial injuries occurred when he was tackled by Sisak and driven through a shrub, head-first. Miles has insisted he was never driven through the bush and has said the officers ripped locks from his head.
The two sides disagree with just about every aspect of how the encounter occurred. There were no independent witnesses.
Police said Miles had a bottle of Mountain Dew in his pocket that looked like a gun, but Miles said he didn’t and doesn’t even drink the beverage. A drug test for Miles came back negative. A district judge dismissed all criminal charges against Miles after determining that the police version of what happened wasn’t credible.
The trial was scheduled to resume on Monday.
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