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Monday, March 31, 2014

After split verdict, attorneys in Jordan Miles trial look ahead

Posted By on Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 6:21 PM

Today, a federal jury reached a split verdict in CAPA High School graduate Jordan Miles’ civil trial against three police officers. But parties on both sides say the fight isn’t over.

“We have brought to light in that courtroom facts that should cause the authorities to look into whether or not these individuals should be allowed to carry a gun and protect and serve our citizens,” said Miles’ attorney Joel Sansone. “It is very clear that these defendants have not served us.”

The trial, which was four years in the making, came as a result of a January 2010 incident when Miles says he was excessively assaulted and unfairly arrested by three police officers. Officers David Sisak, Michael Saldutte, and Richard Ewing maintain they identified themselves, and approached Miles because they saw him lingering on the side of a house

The eight-person jury found in favor of Miles on the claim of false arrest, but not on the claim the officers used excessive force. They awarded Miles $101,016.75 in compensatory damages and $6,000 from each of the officers for putative damages.

“It’s a victory on my behalf… but it’s not over because God didn’t say it’s over,” Miles said

Now Miles, Sansone, and Miles’ family and supporters are calling on the city to fire officers Sisak and Saldutte. Officer Ewing has already left the city and now works for McCandless Township
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They’re also calling on the U.S. Attorney’s office to reopen an investigation into the officers’ actions.

“There’s evidence that these police officers, or at least one of them, held a serious animus,” Sansone said. “I believe these police officers should be fired. I believe they should be charged with crimes but unfortunately with today’s verdict on excessive force, that’s going to be a very difficult thing to do. That doesn’t mean the justice department can’t look into this because there are serious implications for one or more officers with regard to their motivations.”

Attorneys for the three officers said the jury’s decision was a compromise verdict. They believe the reason the jury found in favor of Miles is because they knew charges against him were dropped soon after the incident.

“We felt that determination was made only because the jury knew the criminal charges against Jordan were dismissed. It’s been our contention all along that they never should’ve been,” said James Wymard, attorney for officer Sisak. “But the charges were dismissed, because they were dismissed, this jury heard that and we feel they relied upon that in making their judgment.”

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