What Fresh Hell Is This?

January 25, 2010

Action Items for Jordan Miles Police Brutality Case

Something went terribly wrong on January 11th in the predominantly African American neighborhood of Homewood in Pittsburgh.

Teenager Jordan Miles, a violinist and senior Honor student at Pittsburgh's Creative and Performing Arts high school (CAPA), said he was walking that evening from his mother's house to his grandmother's house.

He never made it.

Instead, he ended up at the hospital looking like this:


Jordan Miles account is that he was attacked by three men screaming "Where's the money? Where's the gun? Where's the drugs?" who he only later found out were undercover police officers.

What do the police say? From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (P-G):
According to the police criminal complaint, three officers on undercover patrol on Tioga STreet saw Mr. Miles at 11 p.m. Jan. 11. Seeing a heavy object in his coat and indentifying themselves as police, they ordered him to stop.

Mr. Miles ran and the three officers, suspecting he might have a gun and be under the influence of drugs, shot him with a Taser and struck him with their knees and fists. The complaint said the heavy object in his coat turned out to be a bottle of Mountain Dew.
So, there's some law against carry heavy objects? I must have missed that one. Moreover, Miles says he wasn't even holding Dew (and last time I checked, if he had consumed some, it doesn't leave you in a drug-induced-like state). The police complaint also claims that he was standing against a building while black "as if he was trying to avoid being seen". Obviously, also against some law that I'm unaware of...

According to the P-G:
Jordan Miles, 18, had a hearing scheduled this morning on charges of aggravated assault and resisting arrest for an altercation Jan. 11 with three plain clothes Pittsburgh Police officers, but it was suspended when the officers did not appear. Mr. Miles was going to defend himself from the charges by describing the beating he took from police, which included a tree branch impaling his gums and a chunk of hair pulled from his head, his attorney said today, in addition to repeated blows to his head. [Emphasis added]
Pittsburgh's Office of Municipal Investigations is investigating the incident and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said he is "very troubled" by Miles' claims of police brutality.

If you're equally disturbed by this story, B-PEP (Black Political Empowerment Project) Black and White Reunion, and CAV (Coalition Against Violence) suggest the following actions you can take:

Action Plan in support of CAPA Honor student Jordan Miles

1. Attend the 9:00 a.m. news conference on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at the City-County Building, Fifth Floor in front of City Council Chambers.

2. Drop off (in person) letters of protest, with regard to the incident, to the Mayor’s Office.

3. Speak to City Council Members at the 10:00 a.m. January 26, 2010 regularly scheduled City Council hearing.

4. Speak to the City Police Review Board at the 6:00 p.m. hearing in City Council Chambers on January 26, 2010
There's also a Facebook support page for Jordan here.

The story has received national coverage including CNN and The Huffington Post.

It bears repeating what First Lady Michelle Obama said when she visited CAPA last year bringing spouses of the G-20 Summit dignitaries with her:
We're here because I wanted to introduce them to some of America's finest, most creative, most accomplished young people."
Apparently the police could not view Jordan in the same light as our First Lady saw him.


Ol' Froth said...

Good gravy, if this report is accurate it doesn't come anywhere close to satisfying Terry.

Indeed, deeply disturbing.

Conservative Mountaineer said...

I agree that this is very disturbing from a variety of ways...

Let's *assume* the officer's account is correct in that they identified themselves as Police. Why did the kid run?

Let's *assume* the kid is correct in that the officers did not identify themselves. I'd run, too.

- Why were there three (3) undercover police together?
- Why the use of a tree branch?
- Why the obvious use of excess force in a 3 vs 1?
- Why didn't they show for the hearing today? Afraid their 'cover' may be blown? Well, I think their cover should be blown.
- What is the race of these officers?
- Just what was their assignment that night?
- Show you faces - now.

It doesn't appear as though this kid was the type to be a trouble-maker or someone who run afoul of the law. The biggest problem I have, though, is that he *apparently* ran.

However, given the purported tendency of police not to cross the 'blue line', I'm leaning towards believing the kid's story.

Dana said...

I am the mother of a
CAPA student and I am horrified. I am just going to come out and say it, my child would not have had this happen to him because he is white. The police officers would not have done that to my child. Because this young man happened to not be white he was believed to be up to something because he rested against a wall and had a heavy pocket. Now how is that suspisious activity??? Not in the real world but maybe some poorly written police drama. I hope and pray that the officers that are involved are held accountable. My eldest son's mother in law is a pittsburgh policer officer for 27 yrs.
She is a hard working officer and incidents like this tarnish all the work she has been putting in for all these years. There is a rally today jan.26 at noon in front of the court house hope to see you all there. Let's stand up against police brutality.

Rashida said...

I would run if I were him too. If you are not black, sometimes you don't understand why a person would run when there are 3 white people yelling and chasing you. Look at the history and you would see why. Good for him. I would run too. I feel awful that this happened to him. Its hard because our country has come a long way, but not long enough. LEAVE US ALONE!

Maria said...

I'll have a follow-up to this on today's City Council meeting where many CAPA students spoke movingly on the incident.

Ol' Froth said...

Lets reverse the roles. A white teen is walking down the street. A car pulls up, three black males get out and start demanding "Where's the money? Where's the gun, where's the drugs?"

I bet most people would conclude it was a mugging.

Yeah, I'd have run too if I were Jordan Miles.

Anonymous said...

From what I've read this is a kid who has never been in trouble, goes to a gifted school, gets good grades, and is on his way to college next year. He lives in a bad neighborhood and in that neighborhood wouldn't anyone in their right mind be scared if a car cut you off and three guys jumped out yelling at you about drugs and guns? Who wouldn't fear for their life? And, common sense leads me to believe that if the officers had identified themselves, why would he run ... he had no drugs, no weapons, he was doing nothing wrong ... the answer is he wouldn't. And, even if they did identify themselves and he ran, there is not a reason in this world he deserved that beating. Plus, he's being charged with loitering, how in the world is it loitering if you're just walking down the street?

Paradise Gray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paradise Gray said...

Charges dropped: But police conduct is also at issue in the Miles case

Each disclosure in the case of high school student Jordan Miles raises new alarms.

The first rang out because of Mr. Miles himself, a 150-pound, viola-playing honor student who hardly fit the profile of a street thug. Next were the photographs of his bruised and swollen face, the aftermath of his Jan. 12 encounter with three undercover Pittsburgh police officers who stopped him in Homewood near the home of his grandmother. Then Mr. Miles voluntarily underwent a two-hour polygraph test, which his attorney said showed he was telling the truth when he described his arrest.

Testimony during a hearing Thursday on charges of assault and resisting arrest filed against him add to the concerns. Since the beginning, police have said they stopped Mr. Miles because he was in a high-crime area late at night and seemed to be concealing something they suspected was a gun. Later, they said what they'd actually found in his pocket was a bottle of Mountain Dew, but no such item was taken into evidence.

Full Story

Paradise Gray said...

Justice Department investigating police beating of CAPA student
Thursday, March 18, 2010
By Dennis B. Roddy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


The Department of Justice Wednesday confirmed that its civil rights division has opened an investigation into the Jan. 12 arrest and beating of Pittsburgh high school student Jordan Miles.

The announcement means that the criminal probe will likely be focused in Washington, although a Western Pennsylvania grand jury last week issued a subpoena for city records regarding the case.

"I can confirm that the Justice Department Civil Rights Division has opened an investigation into the matter," said department spokesman Alejandro Miyar.

The federal grand jury here subpoenaed interview records for seven people, including five city police officers, as part of a look into complaints of police brutality in Mr. Miles' case.

Read more:

Paradise Gray said...

Post-Gazette Cartoon Stirs Controversy



There's controversy over an editorial cartoon that appeared in the Post-Gazette on Wednesday.

The cartoon refers to the case involving Jordan Miles who police say acted suspiciously when they confronted him in Homewood last month.

Miles says he's the victim of police brutality.