PITTSBURGH (AP) — The lawyer for a black high school student who said he was beaten and wrongly arrested by three white city police officers told a jury Tuesday that the police version of events is a "fairy tale."
J. Kerrington Lewis, the attorney for Jordan Miles, 20, opened the civil rights case with Miles' version of the events on a cold, snowy night in January 2010.
Miles contends he was walking innocently from his mother's house to his grandmother's around the corner at about 11 p.m. when plainclothes police rolled up in an unmarked car without identifying themselves and began yelling, "Where's your drugs? Where's your money?"
Miles, then an 18-year-old violist at the city's performing arts high school, says he panicked, briefly struggled with them and ran away, because he thought he was being robbed.
Lewis said Miles was violently beaten and suffers from ongoing brain trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Lewis also claimed the officers later fabricated the reason for the stop and wrongly charged him with prowling and aggravated assault, among other crimes, to cover up their "savage" beating.
U.S. District Judge Gary Lancaster told jurors they must decide three things: whether the officers wrongly arrested Miles without probable cause; whether they used excessive force; and whether the criminal charges against Miles — later dismissed by a district justice who said he didn't believe the police version of events — amounted to malicious prosecution.
James Wymard, the first lawyer to speak for the officers — Richard Ewing, Michael Saldutte and David Sisak — said they responded reasonably given what they knew that night. He offered a version of events much different from Miles'.
Wymard contends Miles was standing suspiciously near a dark house, his back to the street. He said one officer approached Miles and identified himself, and that Miles ran away rather than answer a question about what he was doing there.
Wymard acknowledged the officers hit Miles, but only after he ran and elbowed one officer in the head and kicked another in the knee.
A second defense attorney, Bryan Campbell, said police were justified in using force, especially after Saldutte felt a hard object in Miles' jacket pocket — which police at first believed was a gun but later determined was a bottle of soda.
Campbell also suggested that Miles' version wasn't credible. "He says these officers, for no reason at all, just drive down the street, jump out (of their car) and beat him up," Campbell told the jury.
Lewis said Miles never had a bottle and that police couldn't produce it because they claim to have thrown the bottle away — even though Chief Nate Harper acknowledged it was evidence that should have been retained.
Lewis also noted Miles was 5-foot-7 and weighed 150 pounds, while all three officers are around 6 feet tall and weigh 200 pounds and two are martial arts experts.
Wymard told the jury that police asked a woman in the home Miles was near if she recognized him that night or had given him permission to be nearby. She said no.
But that woman, Monica Wooding, a friend of Miles' family who will testify on his behalf at the trial, testified at a preliminary hearing that police never asked her those questions, prompting a district justice to toss the criminal charges against Miles.
The trial is expected to last more than two weeks and feature testimony by Miles, the three officers and police brass, some of whom are expected to testify that the officers sometimes fabricated information to justify their actions.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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