Jordan Miles' attorneys seek to suppress social media postings, school discipline
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Attorneys for Jordan Miles, who is suing three city of Pittsburgh police claiming they beat him in January 2010 in Homewood, filed 14 pretrial motions late Monday in an effort to prevent the jury from hearing about his middle school disciplinary history, social media postings, comments to friends and other potential evidence.
The motions followed similar filings by attorneys for officers David Sisak, Michael Saldutte and Richard Ewing earlier Monday.
"While Jordan Miles was in the eighth grade, he was disciplined on two occasions for fighting with other students," wrote attorneys J. Kerrington Lewis and Timothy P. O'Brien, who are representing Mr. Miles. "The discipline was in the nature of one to three day suspensions."
They said discipline in eighth grade isn't relevant to the key question in the planned July 16 trial, which will focus on whether police had probable cause to stop and subdue Mr. Miles, now 20.
Mr. Miles was not disciplined while attending the Pittsburgh school for Creative and Performing Arts, where he was a senior at the time of the encounter, they wrote.
Also irrelevant, according to Mr. Miles' motions, are his postings on Facebook and other social media, which have "potential to confuse the jury," the attorneys wrote.
They would also prefer that the jury not see or hear statements made after the incident by Mr. Miles' friends, including one in which the plaintiff "purportedly" said he had a Mountain Dew bottle during the encounter, they wrote.
The officers have said that Mr. Miles had the bottle, which they mistook for a gun, when they stopped him on Tioga Street.
The bottle was not kept as evidence and Mr. Miles has denied having had it.
Another motion by the plaintiff would bar reference to a gun magazine clip the officers said they found in the area of the arrest days later.
Also too prejudicial to be heard by the jury, the attorneys wrote, is testimony that the officers took polygraph tests during the subsequent investigation.
The jury also should not see a "video re-creation" of the incident, they wrote, noting that it simulates Mr. Miles kicking Officer Sisak.
U.S. District Chief Judge Gary Lancaster can rule on the motions and will hear the trial.
Mr. Miles has said the officers did not identify themselves, chased him down and severely beat him. The officers have said they said they were police, but Mr. Miles ran and they thought he had a gun.
Both federal and county prosecutors found insufficient evidence to prosecute the officers.
The city has paid $75,000 to settle claims that it improperly supervised the officers, but would still have to pay any monetary verdict against the officers.
First Published June 19, 2012 9:17 am