Jordan Miles civil and criminal cases go on


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Mediation has failed to resolve a civil lawsuit stemming from the 2010 beating of Jordan Miles, because a criminal probe complicated settlement talks, court papers filed Sunday indicate.

"Case could not be settled pending grand jury investigation and possible indictments of defendants," wrote mediator Thomas L. Cooper in a one-page report on talks between Mr. Miles on one hand, and the city of Pittsburgh and its officers Michael Saldutte, David Sisak and Richard Ewing. He did not elaborate on the Feb. 10 mediation session.

The failure of mediation means that discovery will ensue, said J. Kerrington Lewis, who represents Mr. Miles, now a freshman at Penn State Beaver. Mr. Lewis said he has requested, but not yet received, materials from the city including the report of its Office of Municipal Investigations, which handles allegations against city employees.

City Solicitor Daniel Regan said OMI has not, to his knowledge, closed its probe of the incident.

Criminal and civil cases could conceivably "proceed parallel," Mr. Lewis said, and if so the officers would have to decide whether to testify in civil court while facing charges.

Mr. Miles was a student at Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts High School more than a year ago when, he has said, three officers chased and beat him in Homewood. Officers have indicated in an affidavit that he carried a heavy object that they thought was a gun but turned out to be a bottle of Mountain Dew.

Police accountability groups have taken up his cause, urging U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton to file criminal charges against the officers. Neither Mr. Hickton's office nor representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation believed to be investigating the case could be reached Monday.

"The city has no knowledge of the status of the federal investigation," said Mr. Regan. The city has complied with federal subpoenas, he said.

"The longer this goes on, the more upsetting it is to the family," said Nigel Parry, an organizer for the Justice for Jordan Miles Campaign. "Most of all, the community wants to see police accountability."

The civil case is assigned to U.S. District President Judge Gary L. Lancaster.

Separately, a federal appeal by a man stopped in 2006 by Officer Sisak has failed, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court late Friday.

James S. Stringer claimed in a 2008 lawsuit that Officer Sisak stopped his vehicle and charged him with registration violations because he was black. Judge Lancaster dismissed the case, and the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently agreed with him that Mr. Stringer failed to show any evidence of a civil rights violation.


Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1542.


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