Dowd demands city to release report on Jordan Miles arrest

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Councilman Patrick Dowd says the city's investigation into a high school student's claims that three police officers beat him in January is complete, and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl is needlessly withholding its findings from the police chief.

"Months ago, the chief of police asked the Office of Municipal Investigations to investigate the incident involving Jordan Miles and three officers of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police," Mr. Dowd wrote in a letter delivered to the mayor Monday. "You and the Department of Public Safety are unnecessarily holding the report and not delivering it to the Chief of Police. This is unacceptable for everyone."

Mr. Miles, 18, a senior at the city's Creative and Performing Arts High School, has said that plainclothes Officers Michael Saldutte, Richard Ewing and David Sisak attacked him without cause as he walked on Tioga Street. His allegations prompted investigations by the FBI and the Department of Justice, and triggered outrage from some community groups, which have called for the officers' firings. They remain suspended with pay.

In announcing their suspensions on Feb. 1, Mr. Ravenstahl said OMI had agreed to wrap up its investigation by the end of February.

The mayor should insist that office "immediately sign and deliver" its report to police Chief Nathan Harper, Mr. Dowd wrote. "To do otherwise is to deny everyone involved the neutral facts relative to this incident."

Mayoral spokeswoman Joanna Doven said Mr. Ravenstahl received the letter "very late into the day," and the city would have no comment on it until it is reviewed by the Law Department.

"Something of this very serious and legal nature requires a review by our legal team," Ms. Doven said.

In an interview, Mr. Dowd said the chief needs the report to determine whether further discipline or changes to bureau policy are warranted. He said he penned the letter after his constituents started asking about the status of the city's investigation. He said Chief Harper's knowledge of the report would help begin a community conversation about the Miles case, which stirred racial tensions and raised questions about certain policing strategies.

He said he did not speak directly with Chief Harper about the report, nor did he know its contents.

"The city needs to start healing on this matter," he said. "We can't move forward in any way until this report comes out of a drawer and over to the chief of police."

Chief Harper was unavailable for comment, and police spokeswoman Diane Richard declined to comment on his behalf.

Mr. Miles had been charged with escape and loitering in addition to aggravated assault and resisting arrest in the Jan. 12 confrontation, but Magisterial District Judge Oscar Petite Jr. dismissed the charges against him last month.

A federal grand jury is hearing the case and an FBI probe continues, both separate from the city's investigation. An FBI spokesman could not be reached for comment Monday night. Agents have said theirs is independent of other investigations, and city officials have said the OMI review does not depend on the outcome of any other pending investigation.

Councilwoman Theresa Smith, the council's public safety chair, said she read Mr. Dowd's letter and would like to see OMI's report herself. She hoped to know more about the investigation's status later this week.

"We should see the report as soon as it's complete," she said. "I just wouldn't want to jeopardize anything by forcing them to give us a report that's not fully vetted."

Sadie Gurman: or 412-263-1878.


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