PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The civil trial for three Pittsburgh Police officers accused of beating a former CAPA student in 2010 got underway Tuesday afternoon.
The eight-member jury was finalized around 1 p.m. and the trial got underway around 2 p.m.
Jordan Miles, now 20, claims on a cold night in 2010, he was beaten by the three officers who did not identify themselves.
Those officers – Richard Ewing, Michael Saldutte and David Sisak – claim they did identify themselves and that they only pursued Miles because he tried to run and they thought he was armed. It was later determined that he was not armed.
J. Kerrington Lewis, Miles’ attorney, argued Miles was the victim of a false arrest, excessive force and a malicious prosecution.
“They never identified themselves and started beating him because they thought they had a criminal. They were 6-feet, 200 pounds. He was 5-[feet, 7-inches], 150 pounds,” Lewis said. “He was no match for one of them, let alone three.”
According to his attorney’s opening statement, Miles thought he was going to die. His lawyer says he suffered physical and mental damage as a result of the blows he sustained, describing the attack as savage.
He also said the officers falsified their report and claimed Miles had a Mountain Dew bottle in his pocket that they mistook for a gun.
But the lawyer asked the jury why the officers did not hold on to that bottle if it existed.
Defense attorneys argued that suspicion of a weapon in a neighborhood riddled with gunshots and burglaries were being protected by Officers Ewing, Saldutte and Sisak by being proactive in fighting crime, rather than just responding to police calls.
Defense attorney James Wymard, who represents Officer David Sisak, talked about the high-crime neighborhood where Miles lived.
“They see an individual standing next to the house, back to the street, dressed in black. Is that suspicious? What would you expect a reasonable officer to do?” he said.
Wednesday will be the first full day of testimony.
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