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Charges dropped against police brutality survivor

Published Apr 8, 2010 10:40 PM

Jordan Miles is one of millions of young Black people in the United States trying to escape the deplorable conditions the racist capitalist establishment subjects African Americans to on a daily basis.

A talented youth who attends a private performing arts school in Pittsburgh, Miles had never been in trouble in his mere 18 years, but late in the evening of January 12 trouble would find him.

Miles was walking to his grandmother’s home when three white undercover police jumped from an unmarked car, yelling things such as, “Where’s the drugs?”

As a terrified Miles turned to run from the police in the freezing weather he quickly fell. That’s when the three officers — Richard Ewing, Michael Saldutte and David Sisak — began beating him. After a torrent of kicks, punches and choking that Miles was subjected to for 15 minutes, a police van and uniformed officers arrived.

Miles was treated twice at a local hospital for the injuries sustained in the unprovoked attack. The cops claimed Miles had an object under his jacket, which they stated at first was a gun and later revised to a bottle of Mountain Dew. Miles was charged with aggravated assault and resisting arrest while the three cops were assigned to desk duties.

Reaction was swift and resolute. Jordan’s mother, Terez Miles, undertook an extensive media awareness campaign, releasing horrific photos of her brutalized son to the public. Miles stated that her son, unarmed and at 150 pounds, was certainly no threat.

On Jan. 26, around 60 of Miles’ fellow students joined with activists in an emotionally charged march in the cold Pittsburgh weather demanding, “Justice for Jordan!” Mayor Luke Ravenstahl launched another so-called investigation into the incident, as the cops were given what amounts to a paid vacation.

After hearings and a lie detector test, which Jordan passed with flying colors, the outcry for charges against Miles to be dropped was finally acknowledged. On March 4 Magisterial District Judge Oscar Petite dismissed all charges, ostensibly because of perjured information from a witness and the lack of the mythical Mountain Dew bottle being turned in as evidence. Mass pressure proved to be decisive in exonerating Miles.

Meanwhile, the notorious Fraternal Order of Police immediately expressed outrage at the dismissed charges and began an unsuccessful campaign to have them reinstated and the officers’ probation ended. FOP vice president Charles Hanlon would even say, “I have three of the hardest working Pittsburgh police officers that saw their careers take a dive.” (kdka.com, March 4)

Jordan Miles is now one of millions in the U.S. who must deal not only with institutional oppression but also the physical brutality of living while Black.