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.