CAPA student claims city police beat him

Senior faces assault charges in incident


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A senior at the city's Creative and Performing Arts high school facing assault charges is claiming he was brutally beaten in Homewood last week by undercover Pittsburgh police.

Jordan Miles, 18, had a hearing scheduled yesterday on charges of aggravated assault and resisting arrest for an altercation the evening of Jan. 11 with three plainclothes officers, but it was suspended when the officers did not appear. Mr. Miles was going to defend himself 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 yesterday, in addition to taking repeated blows to his head.

Police took him to West Penn Hospital for treatment. He also went back to a hospital after he was released from custody.

"Based on what I've seen, I can't see any justification for the extreme force used," his attorney, Kerry Lewis, said in an interview.

The city's Office of Municipal Investigations is looking into the incident and will do a full investigation, police spokeswoman Diane Richard said.

According to the police criminal complaint, three officers on undercover patrol in Homewood -- Richard Ewing, Michael Saldutte and David Sisak -- spied Mr. Miles at 11 p.m. Jan. 11 by a house on Tioga Street. Seeing a heavy object in his coat, they identified themselves as police and ordered him to stop.

Mr. Miles ran and the officers shot him with a Taser and struck him several times during a struggle. The complaint says with "Miles's having assaulted two police officers, believing that he was armed, unable to handcuff him, and Miles not following any commands, [Officers Saldutte and Ewing] began to deliver knee strikes to both sides of Miles's body in an attempt to get his hands behind his back ... At this point Ofc. Sisak delivered 2-3 closed fist strikes to Miles' head/face with still no effect."

The complaint said the heavy object in his coat turned out to be a bottle of Mountain Dew. Officer Sisak went to UPMC Mercy for treatment.

Mr. Lewis denied that police identified themselves and said Mr. Miles was walking between his mother's house and his grandmother's house at the time of the incident. Mr. Miles does not have a criminal record, he said. The attorney said he expects the student's family to file a federal civil rights lawsuit against the officers.


Tim McNulty can be reached at tmcnulty@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1581. First Published January 22, 2010 5:00 AM


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