Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Jordan Miles' mother testifies in police beating case

Posted By on Wed, Jul 18, 2012 at 6:05 PM

Terez Miles, mother of Jordan Miles, testified Wednesday afternoon that she saw her son minutes before his Jan. 12, 2010 altercation with three white City of Pittsburgh Police officers -- and that he didn't have a bottle of Mountain Dew, or anything else, in his pocket when he went out the door.

Jordan Miles was heading to his grandmother's house a couple of blocks away at about 11 p.m. when his mother noticed he was wearing a new coat that she hadn't seen. The coat was given to him by his grandmother for his 18th birthday the day before. She testified she hadn't seen it before, as Miles usually slept in his grandmother's large home instead of sharing a room with his older brothers.

"It was a nice coat with a lot of zippers and snaps," she testified. "So I looked at it pretty well."

She told jurors she saw no soda bottle in her son's pocket and no bulge of any sort. And since his grandmother lived a short distance away, she said there would have been no place to get a soda on the walk.

Robert Leicht, attorney for Officer Richard Ewing, questioned why Miles would be looking so closely at the jacket.

"Have you ever worked as a seamstress?" Leicht asked, which brought objections from Miles lawyers. U.S. District court Judge Gary Lancaster told Leicht, "You don't have to be a seamstress to look at a jacket."

Leicht did, however, get Terez Miles to admit that if her son left a soda bottle on the front porch of her home and picked it up when he left then she wouldn't have noticed.

The other witness today a friend of Miles, Jamiah Anderson. Anderson testified that she and Miles have been friends since 2008 and began dating shortly after his run-in with police. Anderson testified that she and Miles were on the phone as he walked to his grandmother's when the encounter with Ewing and the other two officers -- Michael Saldutte and David Sisak -- began. But she said she heard little beyond the phone dropping, and Miles telling someone to "stop, chill."

Anderson's testimony brought a contentious cross-examination from Sisak's attorney, Jim Wymard, who noted inconsistencies between her testimony and the FBI's record of a statement she made in 2010. For example, the FBI report indicated that Anderson told officers that she was talking to Miles when the incident happened -- which the statement identified as being at 7 p.m. She testified that the FBI wrote down the wrong time. Phone records support the claim that she spoke with Miles at 11.

Looking ahead

At least one bit of testimony suggests that another shoe is waiting to drop. In the plaintiff's opening arguments -- and in testimony from Miles' grandmother, Patricia Porter -- Miles was characterized as having a strong character and a circle of reputable friends. Wymard asked Porter about whether she knew two of those friends, Ryan Allen and Stefan Williams. Porter testified that she knew them, but not well.

"Do you know where they currently live?" Wymard asked. Porter said she did not, and Wymard moved on to other questions. But Allen's name came up again during Anderson's testimony, when she admitted that she was now dating Allen.

Testimony will begin at 9:30 Thursday before taking the day off Friday. Look for mid-morning Twitter updates by following @charliedee71 and an update to this blog after lunch.



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