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Friday, June 3, 2011

Activists keep pressure on Zappala in Miles case

Posted By on Fri, Jun 3, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Activists seeking justice in the January 2010 arrest of Jordan Miles today delivered 1,000 petitions to the Allegheny County District Attorney's office, urging DA Stephen Zappala to press charges against the three Pittsburgh police officers accused of beating the Homewood teen-ager.

"This incident has provoked outrage on the part of many people," Tim Stevens, chairman of the Black Political Empowerment Project, told reporters on the steps of the Allegheny County Courthouse. "Try [the officers]. Let the jury decide."

After speaking with reporters outside the courthouse, roughly a dozen activists walked to the district attorney's third-floor office to deliver the petitions. A secretary accepted the petitions on the DA's behalf, telling the activists that neither Zappala nor his spokesperson Mike Manko was available to meet with them.

Activists made a similar delivery last August. Upset that Zappala had not filed charges against officers Michael Saldutte, Richard Ewing and David Sisak, demonstrators handed Manko 1,000 petitions and peppered the DA's spokesperson with questions as to why Zappala hadn't yet acted on the case.

At that time, Manko explained the DA's office was prohibited from conducting an investigation, because the U.S. Attorney's office was in the middle of its own investigation into Miles' arrest.

But ever since the feds dropped its case in early May, prompting the city to put the officers back on the streets, activists have been vocal in demanding that Zappala press charges. In the past few weeks, the Alliance for Police Accountability has organized protests at sites such as the police headquarters, on the North Side, and the Office of Municipal Investigations, in the Strip District.

"We are looking for a response," Brandi Fisher, of the APA, said after today after leaving Zappala's office. "What is taking [Zappala] so long?"

click to enlarge Activist Brandi Fisher (at microphone) urges criminal charges against officers in the Jordan Miles case.
  • Activist Brandi Fisher (at microphone) urges criminal charges against officers in the Jordan Miles case.

"I don't know if he's waiting for us to get tired," she added. "There's no way that DA Zappala doesn't know that a crime was committed."

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