PITTSBURGH - A Homewood man wants eight jurors to believe that he's the only person telling the truth in his federal civil right lawsuit against three police officers, the lawyer for one of the officers said in closing arguments Thursday.
“Everybody is wrong but Jordan (Miles),” James Wymard told the jury. “Everybody lied but Jordan.”
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Miles, 22, claims that Pittsburgh police officers Michael Saldutte and David Sisak and then-Officer Richard Ewing lacked probable cause to stop him, didn't identify themselves and used excessive force during his Jan. 12, 2010, arrest on Tioga Street in Homewood.
The officers contend that Miles was acting suspiciously, ran when questioned and fought officers when they arrested him. They claim he suffered most of his injuries when Sisak tackled him through a hedge onto rocky ground.
Lawyers for the other officers and Miles are scheduled to make their closing arguments Thursday, before U.S. District Judge David Cercone gives the jurors a final set of instructions and the jury starts its deliberations.
Wymard told jurors that there's no doubt that Miles was between two houses when the Saldutte and Ewing first spotted him that night.
“What do you want them to do?” he asked. “Keep going? Get coffee and donuts?”
The officers had reason to stop and question Miles, he said. Miles was an honors student at Pittsburgh's school for Creative and Performing Arts.
Wymard said it's up to Miles to explain why he was between the houses, but a plausible explanation is that he hears and sees that officers slowly coming up the street in an unmarked car with tinted windows and thinks they're gang members.
“This is Homewood, the home of the drive-by, the home of the gangbangers,” he said.
Miles ducks between the houses hoping to avoid being seen and then comes out when it's safe, only to be confronted by police officers who want to know why he was “sneaking” around someone else's house in a high-crime area, Wymard said.
Miles panics and thinks that if he can get home to his mother, she can explain everything, he said.