PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The jury has reached a split verdict in the civil trial against three police officers accused of using excessive force against a former CAPA student.
The jury finds that the officers violated Jordan Miles’ civil rights by initiating a false arrest, but found that his rights were not violated through excessive force.
Because of the false arrest, they awarded Miles $101,016.75 in compensatory damages and $18,000 in punitive damages.
Jordan Miles says he is “satisfied” with the verdict. His attorney, Joel Sansone, though says he cannot explain why the jury did not find the officers liable for the use of excessive force.
“I can possibly put this behind me it’s still very difficult but I could try my best because now I know that we tried our hardest to get the right decision and we might not agree with everything but its good enough so I can try to put this behind myself and go back to school and start doing the things that I love to do,” said Miles.
Sansone also thinks the city should fire the officers and that the Justice Department should reopen their criminal investigation.
Attorneys for the officers say the $118,000 awarded by the jury today is far less than the $180,000 settlement offered by the city to the family four years ago.
Attorneys James Wymard and Robert Leight say they cannot explain the jury’s verdict, but assume that the $101,000 awarded in compensatory damages is based on Miles’ medical bills.
Defense attorney Robert Leight said, “So he gets 61-thousand as compensatory damages in this case. The city has already paid him 75-thousand in this case. In addition since the offer at the time of judgment which is over three or four years ago the city recovers all of the costs in this case, Mr. Miles and his attorneys may well be writing the city a check in this case.”
They say the city will pay the award, including the punitive damages because the city has indemnified the officers.
Following the verdict, Mayor Bill Peduto issued a statement.
“Events one night in Homewood four years ago have echoed through our city, our neighborhoods and our police force ever since. It has changed at least four lives forever, but it hurt us all in some way. Our community must start healing, and must start rebuilding the trust we must have for safe communities and a better police force. I am ready to start that now.”
On Friday, the jury wanted to hear again a defense attorney’s cross-examination of Jordan Miles and his mother, Terez Miles.
The passage they asked to have read back to them is a portion of Terez Miles’ testimony regarding when she learned that her son was arrested.
She testified she learned of the arrest that night, but didn’t locate him at the jail until the next day.
The jury also asked to hear a portion of the cross-examination of Jordan Miles regarding when Officer Michael Saldutte asked him where he lived.
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