Jury selection begins for civil case in Pittsburgh police beating
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Jury selection started slowly today in the civil case spurred by the January 2010 encounter between Jordan Miles and Pittsburgh police.
The trial hinges on the accounts of Mr. Miles, 20, of Homewood, and those of three officers, Michael Saldutte, David Sisak and Richard Ewing.
Around 70 potential jurors from throughout Western Pennsylvania were brought into U.S. District Chief Judge Gary L. Lancaster's courtroom shortly after 12:30 p.m. Three were African American men, none were black women.
The members of the jury pool were ordered not to text, tweet, blog or otherwise communicate from the courtroom.
One, a white woman, said she knew Officer Sisak and is married to a city detective. A white man knew Officer Saldutte. A black man said he may know one of the witnesses.
Twenty jurors were picked for initial consideration. Court staff took them into the judge's chambers, one by one, for questioning on their attitudes toward law enforcement, race, litigation and damages. Those questioning sessions appeared to take around five minutes each.
The balance of the jury pool remained in the courtroom in case the initial 20 failed to generate a jury of eight people, including two alternates.
Mr. Miles has said that the three plainclothes officers jumped out of an unmarked car without identifying themselves, chased him down and beat him.
The officers have said that they clearly identified themselves and ordered Mr. Miles to stop, but he ran, and they mistook a Mountain Dew bottle in his coat for the bulge of a gun. They then arrested him, but he vigorously resisted, hitting and kicking them, they said.
The trial is expected to include testimony by city police Chief Nate Harper, commanders Scott Schubert and Rashall Brackney and major crimes unit Lt. Kevin Kraus.
First Published July 16, 2012 2:36 pm