Thursday, July 19, 2012
This morning, Jordan Miles got a chance to lay out his version of events on the night of Jan. 12, 2010. This afternoon, jurors watched an attorney for three city police officers try to tear that version down.
Miles says he was beaten Jan. 12, 2010 by three undercover city officers -- David Sisak, Michael Saldutte and Richard Ewing -- near his mother’s home in Homewood. He testified Thursday morning that the men approached him as he walked down Tioga Street and demanded “gun, drugs, money.” Miles said he thought he was being robbed and took off. The officers claim they thought Miles had a gun because of a bulge in his coat pocket that turned out to be a bottle of Mountain Dew. No bottle was ever taken into evidence.
He said the men never identified as police officers. But defense attorney James Wymard began the afternoon asserting that the officers did identify themselves and that they were only trying to handcuff Miles.
"It was obvious to you from the beginning that they were police officers, wasn’t it?" Wymer asked Miles.
But Miles stood by his original claim: "It was not obvious to me they were police officers,” he replied. He said they never identified themselves, they never flashed lights or sirens and the car was unmarked.
"Also, they continued to beat me after I was handcuffed," Miles added. "I didn't think that was something cops would do. I was arrested even though I didn’t do anything and I didn’t think cops would behave like that either."
Wymard then brought up statements Miles made to the FBI during a federal investigation into the incident, seeking to find discrepancies in his previous accounts.
However, Miles' attorney J. Kerrington Lewis later had Miles read the entire FBI report -- which, as Judge Gary Lancaster made a point of telling jurors, was the FBI agent's version of their interview with Miles and not Miles' words themselves. In that FBI statement and statements to agencies like the city’s Office of Municipal investigations, Miles tells largely the same story: that he was walking down the street, that the officers did not identify themselves but demanded "gun, drugs, money" and that they beat him -- before and after he was handcuffed.
Lewis also had Miles read from the OMI report, in which the OMI investigator wrote that that phrase "gun, drugs, money" is typically used by city undercover officers when engaging suspects.
But jurors have yet to hear from Stefan Williams and Ryan Allen, who may dent Miles' credibility. Under questioning by Wymard, Miles acknowledged that Williams was his best friend, and the two communicate almost daily. According to Wymard, Williams contends that Miles told him he had been in between two houses, as the officers claim. Miles testified he never told Williams any such thing.
Allen, meanwhile, is a former friend of Miles. Miles said the two had a falling-out, stemming partly from the fact that Allen is now dating Miles' ex-girlfriend, Jemiah Anderson. Miles said he and Allen are no longer friends, but "are respectful of one another."
Wymard asked: “Do you recall talking with Ryan Allen and telling him that the police mistook a bottle of Mountain Dew for a gun?"
Replied Miles: "I never told him that."
Another tidbit from Thursday’s testimony was the introduction of Myspace and Facebook pictures of Miles -- sometimes shirtless -- flexing his muscles. Miles' lawyers say the 150-pound Miles was no match for the three officers, all roughly 6-feet tall and 200 pounds or more. But on the opening day of the trial. Wymard called Miles "150 pounds of dynamite."
The Myspace photos showed a shirtless, flexing Miles under the username "Bulky J" taken some time when Miles was between 14 and 16 years old. A final photo, taken in October 2011, was of Miles after a workout, wearing a shirt but slightly flexing his muscles. Miles' physique did show definition in all three photos.
"You wanted to show yourself to be bulky?" Wymard asked
"Yes I did," replied Miles.
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