PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Closing arguments have concluded after days of testimony in the civil re-trial for three Pittsburgh Police officers accused of using excessive force against a former CAPA student.
The jury finished hearing instructions in the law at 4:30 p.m. and have retired for the evening.
They will begin their deliberations in Friday morning.
This morning, the jury heard the first of the closing arguments by a defense attorney.
James Wymard, who represents Officer David Sisak, argued that the officers had probable cause to arrest Jordan Miles and did not use excessive force.
“Does it make any common sense for these officers to run over, not show their badge and jump on him and beat him up?” he said. “It doesn’t make any sense.”
“Three white guys in Homewood trying to put handcuffs on him. Who, other than police officers, would do that?” Wymard said. “Still, he claims this fantasy that he didn’t know they were police.”
Then, Wymard held up a picture of Miles in a neck brace at the hospital.
“Look at this picture – like he’s on his death bed. The real fraud is a half hour later, he’s walking out of the hospital with no neck brace.”
On Sisak’s thoughts about use of force, Wymard argued, “What are their options if he thinks he has a gun? Do I shoot him, which I might have been authorized to do? No. I punched him.”
Attorney Brian Campbell, who represents Officer Michael Saldutte, argued, “This encounter with police didn’t wreck his life. Outside of taking him to West Penn Hospital, none of these other treatments were necessary.”
Attorney Robert Leight, who represents Officer Richard Ewing, told the jury, “We’re not here to attack Jordan Miles. But, Jordan made a mistake that caused this issue to snowball. Jordan’s wounds healed, but these officers continue to bear the scars of the allegations against them.”
In his closing argument, plaintiff’s attorney Joel Sansone challenged the defense notion that three white men in Homewood would likely be police.
“Don’t white people live in Homewood? Yes. Don’t white people buy drugs in Homewood? Yes. Don’t white people sell drugs in a Homewood? Yes,” he said.
“Police have an ‘oh shoot’ moment sometimes. They have to cover up what they did… Jordan had no burglary tools, he had no gun. If there was a Mountain Dew bottle, they should have kept it,” Sansone argued.
“Officer Saldutte claims he was in the fight of his life. He outweighs this kid by 60 or 70 pounds, yet this kid stuns him. Do you think that really happened? Suddenly, this night, Jordan becomes a ninja. That’s baloney,” says Sansone.
And with tears in his eyes, Sansone concluded, “This will be hard, but you must believe the word of an 18-year-old boy rather than three sworn police officers. For the love of God, do what’s right.”
The closing arguments concluded at 2:45 p.m.
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