Police

"Law Enforcement Expert" Says Pittsburgher Jordan Miles Must Have Known Cops Were Cops Before They Beat Him

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In response to a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Jordan Miles over a beating he suffered from Pittsburgh Police in January 2010, a "law enforcement expert" has declared that the cops' version of events is true. The aforementioned expert was hired by the city to fight the lawsuit from Miles, so it's not exactly surprising that he came to some familiar conclusions about why the cops just had to do what they did.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: 

The officers have consistently said that they identified themselves as such and displayed badges, wrote Joseph J. Stine, who ran Philadelphia's Police Training Bureau and served as chief for New Britain Township, in a report filed in federal court. And Mr. Stine suggested that Mr. Miles couldn't have logically reached the conclusion that the men were common thugs.

"It is my opinion that in order for Jordan Miles not to have known that the males who attempted to stop him and whom he eventually struggled with were police officers, he would have had to believe that three adult white males had come into [a] predominantly Afro-American community in order to rob him," Mr. Stine wrote, despite little precedent for such an attack. "He would have to have not heard any of the constant repetition of 'Police. Stop. Police.'"

Is there really no precedent at all for several white guys to visit an African-American neighborhood and want to make trouble? There's certainly precedent for people impersonating police officers in order to commit crimes. Maybe the men did yell police and even flash badges, but so what? It was 11 p.m. in one of Pittsburgh's most crime-ridden neighborhoods. And if the men grabbed at Miles while identifying themselves (or not), a logical fight or flight instinct still would have kicked in. Miles also said that the cops yelled "Where's the money? Where's the gun? Where's the drugs?" at him, which made him believe he was being robbed, then abducted, when the men initially put handcuffs on him.

Stine says that it wasn't "logical" for Miles to have thought that the officers were criminals, yet cops are often forgiven for reacting in the heat of the moment to an apparent threat, be it a human being with a three-inch carving knife or a dog which maybe bares its teeth at a stranger in its home. So why is then-highschool senior Miles not to be forgiven for his nervousness when adult, theoretically highly-trained cops are so often forgiven for theirs? 

And then there's the case of the fabled Mountain Dew bottle, supposedly the object in Miles' jacket that the cops decided must be a gun.  Miles said he never had a bottle, rarely drinks that soda, and it didn't get taken in as evidence. But Stine is not worried about its absence. 

The officers found a Mountain Dew bottle, but discarded it, the report said, characterizing the failure to preserve that evidence as "a mistake" understandable in the wake of "what they believed to be a life and death struggle."

Meanwhile, Miles' people have made their own filing and have their own expert who says that Miles was stopped for no reason. And police don't seem to have answered for the dubiousness of the original police report which casts great doubt on the Miles was skulking around someone else's property narrative.

The Post-Gazette:

An expert hired by Jordan Miles' legal team in his federal civil rights suit against the city of Pittsburgh says three plainclothes police officers had no reason to stop him on a Homewood street last year and used excessive force in subduing him during an arrest near his house.

In a report filed today as part of the case, R. Paul McCauley, a retired professor of criminology from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, also said that one officer, Richard Ewing, fabricated statements from a witness in an affidavit.

Miles, who was initially charged with assaulting an officer, rejected a $118,000 settlement offer from the city of Pittsburgh this summer . The local D.A. and the feds still decline to bring charges against the officers who are back on duty and who had been previously accused of excessive force. 

Radley Balko on the Jordan Miles case. And here's a rap about it.

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104 responses to “"Law Enforcement Expert" Says Pittsburgher Jordan Miles Must Have Known Cops Were Cops Before They Beat Him

  1. Dunphy in…4…3…2…

    1. For the love of money [POLIS’ property values] is the root of all evil [POLICe brutality.]

      By his stripes, we all are profited.

      1. Can you describe the gang of veggies that raped you?

        1. Why do I have to explain the obvious to you?

          Oh, did you finish your biology coloring book before the end of the semester?

          Still holding forth that nuclear weapons are not a result of biological evolution, but capitalism somehow is?

          1. Because pure capitalism is economic Darwinism!

            Survival of the fittest!

      2. …is misappropriating the blame [AGAIN]. Guilt is applied to the non-perpetrating burghers — who are for the most part sickened by the whole thing who are cheated rather than reaping profit — rather than blaming the gangster cops. Upside down world.

        1. EE being “Emergent Elite.” It’s an anthropological term. (Go on, Scholar.google it.)

          Want another token to play the blame game again?

          Thesis #10: Emergent elites led the Agricultural [City-Statist] Revolution.
          by Jason Godesky | 11 October 2005
          http://rewild.info/anthropik/thirty/

    2. When POLI get piled upon one another in large metroPOLISes, as in Europe, we shall become as POLICed as Europe.

      ~Thomas Jefferson.

        1. Feck rednecks cops. Got bacon?

  2. Keep banging the drum, Lucy. People need to know when things like this happen, and they need to know that cops are, by and large, not held accountable for their actions.

    And I hope dunphy comes on this thread. I’d love to hear his explanation why these cops aren’t behind bars.

    1. “They haven’t been convicted yet. Wait until there’s a trial.”

      1. More like, they haven’t had their 6 months paid vacation yet, wait until the internal investigation inevitably clears them.

        LOL

        How’s that “We Need the POLIS (City-State) to Protect our [whatever] Rights” working out for ya’ll yet?

        Maybe next year, we’ll have the first year out of 10,000 years of POLIS that works out for ya.

        1. Fat, Annoying, and Stupid is No Way to Go Through Life, Son

          1. OK, mommy dearest.

        2. is working on the OBAMA 2012 committee and is successful.

          1. You’re an ag-city-Statist.

            Ya’ll are like peas in a pod when it comes to Gambol Lockdown.

            Officer, am I free to gambol about plain and forest?

            OBAMA: NO!
            LIBERTARIANS: NO!

  3. I don’t have a dog in this fight but, per this very article, I think it is apparent that the answer to your question can be summed up in two words: reasonable & doubt.

    1. reply to sloopy

    2. I’d rather a jury determine that, not a DA’s office that works hand in glove with the police department.

      We need a separate DA’s office that handles all complaints against police departments. It should have no contact with any law enforcement officers, except those who investigate cops.

      And we need real civilian review, not boards approved by the police and their unions. I would like to see anonymous review boards where people are drafted like a jury. They hear one case and recommend whether or not the case should go to trial and for what. Then a special prosecutor takes over with full subpoena power.

      1. Somebody a while back said that the DAs should appear in court wearing police uniforms, to make sure every knows who they are.

        1. I wish it had been me.

        2. Maybe all POLI should wear a POLIS uniform.

          1. Maybe all POLI should wear a POLIS uniform.

            Why? This isn’t Turkey.

  4. The most insane thing about that argument is that it manages to be both racist and circular.

    “White-on-black crime is so unthinkable that this vicious beating of a black guy by white guys must not have been a crime!”

    1. Well of course, the cops are definitely lying and really just wanted to beat up Jordan Miles because that’s their idea of fun. That’s really the only possible explanation.

      Three white guys from out of nowhere try to arrest you almost certainly saying they’re cops (Why? Because criminals are still less likely to try to assault/shoot/kill cops than someone they believe to be another criminal or non-cop) and then your first instinct is to fight back and doubt that they’re cops?

      Police are certainly less accountable for their actions than ‘normal’ people but why do 95% of people on this blog assume that every instance like this was done out of complete malice, racism, and/or just for kicks?

    2. Well of course, the cops are definitely lying and really just wanted to beat up Jordan Miles because that’s their idea of fun. That’s really the only possible explanation.

      Three white guys from out of nowhere try to arrest you almost certainly saying they’re cops (Why? Because criminals are still less likely to try to assault/shoot/kill cops than someone they believe to be another criminal or non-cop) and then your first instinct is to fight back and doubt that they’re cops?

      Police are certainly less accountable for their actions than ‘normal’ people but why do 95% of people on this blog assume that every instance like this was done out of complete malice, racism, and/or just for kicks?

      1. Argh double post.

      2. Because those who seek authority tend to also seek ways to abuse that same authority. Doesn’t matter if that authority is as President of the United States (assassinating American citizens) or your local Officer Friendly (Stop Resisting! as you are face down in a pool of your own blood)

        1. Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work
          http://www.amazon.com/Snakes-Suits-Wh…..0060837721

          1. CEOs don’t have the force of the law and its accompanying monopoly on legal force to enforce their psychopathy, Jason.

            1. Oh right, I forgot the Corporations didn’t buy the government long ago.

              Libertarians are such dimwits.

              1. Corporations can’t buy government.

                They can only rent it.

      3. Then explain to me why a DoJ that seems perfectly fine with violence in the name of the state is charging department after department with systematically covering up excessively violent behavior by cops.

        Seattle, Maricopa County, East Haven, CT are the most recent, all in the past week.

        So to answer your question: Gee, because the evidence points to it.

        1. Points to what? That most cops are bad or most cases like this cops lie to coverup their intentional beatings of people they knew to be innocent?

          1. They didn’t “know him to be innocent”. They just saw a citizen that surely must have been guilty of something. They would figure that out after they beat the living shit out of him.

            1. You’re a mind reader and know all the facts of the case including the mindstate of the officers, of course.

              1. No mind reading necessary, just empirical data from experimental psychology.

                Ever hear of the Stanford Prison Experiment?

                Take off your kneepads, and put on your thinking cap, Esteban.

      4. For one, power almost always gets abused.

        Beyond that, I would say personal experience. Have you never been hassled unfairly by the police?

        Besides the drug raid I received because I buy cold medicine for my allergies, I would get stopped about twice a month in Florida for such reasons as not driving with two hands. And that doesn’t even top what happened to me in Georgia.

        The profession attracts bullies and thugs, and because they can get away with bad behavior, they only become worse…

          1. Name a libertarian CEO besides the Kochs.

            1. John Mackey.

              You know, from Whole Paycheck.

              1. So, they can pretty much be counted on one hard?

                1. Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work
                  http://www.amazon.com/Snakes-S…..B000QW7Q72

        1. Don’t look so guilty of something.

            1. END:CIV
              Resist or Die
              http://endciv.com/

        2. I have. I’ve been pulled over, not given a justification and patted down and then they let my friend and I go and didn’t say anything. It was really annoying and pissed me off, but a bad personal experience doesn’t make me think all police are malevolent/ evil people just looking to fuck with or injure people.

          1. Running full production.

  5. What are their asset forfeiture laws like? He may have been right all along, and they were trying to rob him.

  6. Premise Five:

    The property of those higher on the hierarchy is more valuable than the lives of those below. It is acceptable for those above to increase the amount of property they control?in everyday language, to make money?by destroying or taking the lives of those below.

    This is called production.

    If those below damage the property of those above, those above may kill or otherwise destroy the lives of those below.

    This is called justice.

    http://www.endgamethebook.org/Excerpts/1-Premises.htm

    1. Are you White Indian? Your link sounds like that a-hole.

      1. Premise One: Civilization is not and can never be sustainable. This is especially true for industrial civilization.

        http://www.endgamethebook.org/Excerpts/1-Premises.htm

  7. Expert testimony is always biased so I’m not going to say this is something unique to the police.

    These popo are dirtbags either way.

  8. Maybe the men did yell police and even flash badges, but so what? It was 11 p.m. in one of Pittsburgh’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods.

    I’m no fan of the police, but I feel compelled to play Devil’s Advocate here. If you feel this is an unacceptable form of police identifying themselves, can you please outline a procedure the police should follow to identify themselves to people they are about to question or arrest?

    Or are you saying that police should completely stay out of crime-ridden neighborhoods late at night, and let the residents heavily arm themselves and take their personal protection into their own hands?

    1. I think the point is that it doesn’t warrant a beating either way. Especially when they shouldn’t have been harassing him in the first place.

      1. They shouldn’t have been hassling him and it most certainly didn’t warrant the beating he received but:

        Is there really no precedent at all for several white guys to visit an African-American neighborhood and want to make trouble?

        Lots of precedent but they are always cops.

      2. I’m not talking about whether it warranted a beating. I’m questioning what seems to be the assertion by the author of this post that this is not sufficient identification by police that they are in fact police, and so I’m asking — so what should police do to identify themselves, then, if that seems you to be be insufficient identification?

        Am I reading what the author wrote wrong, or is she asserting what I think she is asserting?

        1. There could be situations where undercover cops actually have to act fast, but there is a fundamental problem with undercover cops who cannot prove that they did anything to identify themselves, and even if they did, it was just that they yelled “cops” and flashed a badge on the horribly-lit streets of Homewood.

          I’m not sure what the answer is in cops identifying themselves, but it baffles me that they don’t seem to be able to understand and act accordingly that people do not necessarily know that they are really cops and may fear them. In this case in particular, their reason for stopping Miles, his reaction, and their violent reaction to Miles’ resisting clearly suggests that they were in the wrong and should be punished. I would have to get back to you on some overall policy changes, but this (and some other cases) seems to be a violation of people’s right to defend themselves.

          I don’t know the magic fix besides fewer cops and fewer stops, but in this case, it seems clear to me that Miles should not have been obligated to risk robbery or (non-state) assault by believing the three men.

        2. 1. Be in uniform.
          2. Be in a marked vehicle.
          3. Present their badges.

          Is there hard evidence that they did any of these things…except for their sacred word?

          1. This.

          2. 1 and 2 are unrealistic and your own arbitrary standards. 3 should happen, but I guess it comes down to who you think is telling the truth. The cops have every incentive to identify themselves as cops because criminals are less likely to try to harm police and unless they truly are just beating completely innocent people for sport (which might happen rarely), the cops have any fear that a person is armed/dangerous and don’t want to get injured themselves.

            1. You wanted to ask what they should do to identify themselves.. There’s nothing arbitrary about a police uniform: everyone knows what the fuck it is.

            2. Do you know what uniform means? Or arbitrary?

              Take off your kneepads, and put on your thinking cap, Esteban.

            3. How is wearing a uniform and using a marked car arbitrary and his own standards. Those are the standards of our society. That’s why every friggin police force in the country has uniforms and marked cars. And they have them for a specific reason- so citizens know which people are police and which people aren’t police.

    2. How about they wear their uniforms? That the biggest protection cops have.

      1. There should never be plain clothes cops?

          1. Why not? Using plain clothes police has been very effective in make NYC subways safe. Putting tons of uniformed cops in the subways didn’t really work and costs a lot more money. Of course, crime in NYC and all over the country is way down and the change in strategy is not solely responsible, but I think it’s reasonable to say that’s it’s helped.

            1. Allowing citizens to be armed is even cheaper and works much better.

              1. I agree that the right to bears arms should be absolute, but if you think a state is necessary, a police force is necessary to enforce laws to ensure rights are not being infringed. If you don’t think a state or police are necessary at some level, then I don’t I’m going to agree with you.

                1. States have existed a lot longer than police forces have.

            2. Yeah, good on NYC being the Orwellian wet dream that it is.. but in the part of the country I live, the only reason a cop is plainclothes is for drug busts and prostitution stings.

              The best way to keep police officers safe is to take them off the damn streets and mind their own fucking business. I can take care of myself, thank you.

        1. Maybe in certain cases, but cops who are plainclothes should make the assumption that people they confront will not immediately recognize them as cops, even if they flash a badge.

        2. There is a role for plainclothes policing, but it’s not the same as the role for uniforms. Plainclothes should not be engaging in routine patrol duties, such as stopping to interrogate random people on the street and chasing them down if they choose not to be interrogated. They should be doing undercover work, or investigating crimes which have already taken place, by means such as interviewing victims, witnesses and suspects…maybe even after calling and making appointments. They should not be approaching random people who they think look suspicious and jumping them when they flee.

          1. Well said.

    3. Not bending over and submitting to anything the cops “ask” of you is NOT probable cause to beat the living shit out of someone. A professional police, as opposed to a professional thug, knows good and well that people are going to resist and are trained to deal with such behavior. Such training does not include beating the shit out of the person. That lesson is learned after they graduate the academy and the reality becomes apparent about how much they can get away with. Like any other walk of life, some will test the limits.

      The problem is the city would probably LIKE to get rid of these assholes, but doing so would be an admission of guilt so they feel compelled to keep them on the force to avoid a massive payout/settlement. But how can they treat these horrible cops in the aftermath? Give them shitty assignments that anger them even more? Probably points to the fact that dunphy brought up before: fire cops (good and bad) on seemingly innocuous technicalities because you can’t seem to get rid of them for being shitty without a huge cost.

  9. So why is then-highschool senior Miles not to be forgiven for his nervousness when adult, theoretically highly-trained cops are so often forgiven for theirs?

    Miles was forgiven. He’s not currently rotting in jail for getting in the way of an officer’s fists.

    BTW, that’s some great one-sided reporting by the Gazette, which reminds me why I never read it.

  10. The officers found a Mountain Dew bottle, but discarded it, the report said, characterizing the failure to preserve that evidence as “a mistake” understandable in the wake of “what they believed to be a life and death struggle.”

    If somebody is actually killed in an incident, does evidence preservation become merely a nice-to-have?

    “Mistakes were made.”

  11. I’ll never forget when this site first reported this story. I swear Gregooo said some shit like “the guy deserved it.”

  12. This story is really thin on facts. What happened?

    This screams out for ALL police to wear minicams at ALL times on duty. Then we’d have some objective data.

  13. If you legalize everything, there will be no crime. Think about it.

    1. What is this “think” to which you refer?

  14. Mr. FIFY|12.29.11 @ 5:37PM|#
    *I* didn’t do shit to the American Indians.
    Piss off.

    Occupiers are as guilty as invaders.

    And the occupiers still use plenty of aggression and violence to effect their occupation.

    Mr. FIFY whitewashes his aggression with word-magic from his deceitful libertarian canon. All aggressors do this.

    Our way of living?industrial civilization?is based on, requires, and would collapse very quickly without persistent and widespread violence.

    Derrick Jensen on violence and civilization
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4a6E3TMjrUY

    1. Occupiers are as guilty as invaders.

      Fuck off. The land I own was originally purchased from several chiefs of the the Lenni Lenape for 536 gallons of rum.

        1. If you looked at the state of the land, the way it was back then, and the technology available for clearing and draining the land, you would understand that the Indians probably got the better of the deal. We’re not talking prime “real estate” for farming.

      1. Chiefs, you say? I thought native Ameriacn society was nothing but equal men, freely gamboling about the forest.

    2. How and WHY does an indigenist get a MFA?

      He Gamboled thru the city-state’s approved institutions for 20 yrs only to find them intolerable.

      1. He started out with a degree in Gaia-raping technology, and now writes books which get printed on paper made of the carcasses of trees…

  15. DUNPHYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. “Meanwhile, Miles’ people have made their own filing and have their own expert who says that Miles was stopped for no reason. And police don’t seem to have answered for the dubiousness of the original police report which casts great doubt on the Miles was skulking around someone else’s property narrative.”

    FYI to author: Bad link at the end of this paragraph

  17. “Meanwhile, Miles’ people have made their own filing and have their own expert who says that Miles was stopped for no reason. And police don’t seem to have answered for the dubiousness of the original police report which casts great doubt on the Miles was skulking around someone else’s property narrative.”

    FYI to author: Bad link at the end of this paragraph

  18. So Stine is asesrting that because the victims knew they were being tortured by Gestapo agents, it makes the torture legitimate.

  19. On the one hand, some poor kid got beat up. That’s bad. On the other hand, he was probably a Steelers fan, so that’s good. I don’t know what to think here.

  20. …who ran Philadelphia’s Police Training Bureau…

    Is that the same police force that burned down half of the City of Philadelphia by dropping a bomb on the rooftop of a row home that killed children? Does he use the Frank Rizzo method of police training, or the Wilson B Goode method?

  21. The judge acquitted Miles, indicating some problems with the officers’ story. If the story had been solid, then he wouldn’t have been let off so readily.

    Of course, just because there’s a reasonable doubt about the cops’ version doesn’t mean Miles will be able to *disprove* their story in federal court – the burden of proof there is on the guy suing the cops.

    But I’d say that if cops want the benefit of wearing plain clothes – and the whole point of wearing plain clothes is that the public doesn’t recognize them as cops – then they can’t be heard to complain “gosh, the guy should have recognized us!”

    Which goes to the argument about “he should have known that a bunch of white guys jumping him in a black neighborhood could only have been cops!” If their white skin and aggressive behavior was enough to identify them as police, then they might as well give up the whole plainclothes thing and wear uniforms. And drive a patrol car, too.

    1. This^. They can’t have it both ways, even if they are agents of the glorious State.

  22. A perk of choosing law enforcement as a career is that you can commit assault and even murder without consequence.

  23. This is a textbook example of how “expert testimony” has become a joke. Exactly what “expertise” did this “expert” apply? All he really has to say is that he believes that the people who hired him are telling the truth, and that the person who opposes the people who hired him is not. It magically becomes “expert testimony” because he prefaces his comments with the incantation, “In my expert opinion…”

    1. He might be an “expert” for the MSM, but trial courts have rules regarding the admission of “expert testimony”. At least in theory…

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