Pittsburgh Police Accused of Excessive Force in Teen Beating

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An honor student and his mother are accusing Pittsburgh police of brutality, after an arrest which turned violent.

Jordan Miles, 18, was walking near his home when three men jumped out of a car and approached him. Miles, who is black, said that he was afraid for his life, in part because the men were white. When the men—who were plainclothes police officers—emerged from the car, Miles began to run. He slipped and fell, however, at which point the policemen used several different methods to subdue him.

First they shot the 5-foot-6, 150-pound teen with a stun gun. Then they approached him and began beating him about the head, delivering “2-3 closed fist strikes to Miles’ head/face,” according to a criminal complaint against the police department filed by Miles and his mother, Terez Miles. The officers also delivered a “knee strike to Miles’ head causing him to momentarily stop resisting.” They also tore out a handful of his hair and choked him.

The policemen involved in the incident say that they thought Miles was engaged in criminal activity, and that he may have been armed with a “large heavy object.” The boy was carrying a bottle of Mountain Dew.

Terez Miles says that the officers never identified themselves as police to her son, who is enrolled in Pittsburgh’s Creative and Performing Arts High School. Miles is an honor roll student and a viola player. Moreover, he had no previous criminal record.

Now, however, he has been charged with aggravated assault, loitering, resisting arrest and escape.

Miles says that he was unaware that he was being arrested until a van carrying uniformed police officers arrived on the scene, and the officers began discussing the case. Miles’ mother Terez believes that the teen was a victim of racial profiling, because he is black and lives in a rough neighborhood.

A hearing was scheduled for last Thursday, but the three officers failed to appear. A judge rescheduled the hearing for February 18. According to a police department spokesperson, they have been put back in uniform and reassigned pending an investigation by the city.

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced that the city would hold the three policemen accountable for their actions if the investigation concludes that the brutality was not justified.

“The incident was very troubling to me, and we’re taking it very seriously,” said Ravenstahl. “It seems as if there was a tremendous amount of force used.”

Terez and Jordan Miles are considering bringing a civil suit against the officers.

 

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