Witness can't recall previous testimony in Miles case

by: Brian Bowling, TribLIVE Updated:

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PITTSBURGH - A friend of a Homewood man testified Tuesday that he couldn't remember what the man told him after his arrest in 2010.

(This article was written by Brian Bowling, a staff writer for Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE.)

Ryan Allen, 21, of Wilkinsburg said he also couldn't remember what he told the FBI or a federal grand jury about his conversation with Jordan Miles a few days after Miles' arrest on Jan. 12, 2010, on Tioga Street in Homewood.

“I can't recall what we discussed,” he said.

Shown an FBI report and his testimony at the first trial in Miles' civil lawsuit against the three arresting officers, he said he could recall being questioned but nothing else. He said he also remember testifying before a federal grand jury but not about what.

“I remember testifying, but I don't remember what I said, what I was asked,” Allen said.

Miles, 22, who is black, claims that Pittsburgh police Officers Michael Saldutte and David Sisak and then-Officer Richard Ewing, all of whom are white, lacked probable cause and used excessive force during his arrest.

The officers contend that Miles was acting suspiciously, fled when they questioned him and fought the officers when they arrested him.

Allen was called because the FBI report says he confirmed that Miles was carrying a Mountain Dew bottle in his coat pocket when he was arrested. The bottle is important because the officers have said it could have been the hard object Saldutte mistook for a gun during the struggle.

Miles testified Monday that Allen told him after his FBI interview that he had given FBI Agent Sonia Bush misleading information.

“He told the FBI that I had a Mountain Dew bottle so that he could impeach himself because he didn't want to be part of this case,” Miles said.

Allen denied saying that.

Lawyers for the officers also called Monica Wooding of Wilkinsburg to testify about her interaction with police on the night of the arrest. At the time, Wooding lived on Tioga Street.

The officers claim that Miles was lurking beside her house when they first spotted him. Miles says he was walking in the street when the officers confronted him in front of her house.

Wooding refuted the officers' claim that they asked her to identify Miles after he was arrested. She said the police van carrying Miles was leaving the scene when she first looked out her second-story bedroom window and started talking with Sisak.

She confirmed Sisak's testimony that he talked about getting kicked during the struggle, but denied that Saldutte ever talked with her. Saldutte testified that he asked her if anyone was trying to break into her house and asked her to identify Miles while he was standing in the street before being placed in the van.

Asked if that happened, she said, “Not at all.”

Wooding testified that Sisak was moving her garbage cans the night before and when she went to move the cans back to their usual place the next afternoon, she spotted a gun clip under one of the cans.

She then got a call from a close friend, an El Paso, Texas, woman related to the Miles family, who wanted to know what had happened the night before. During the conversation, Wooding mentioned the gun clip, she said.

Afterward, “I went outside to see if the clip was still out there, but it was gone,” Wooding said.

Presented with two similar gun clips, one from a Glock .40 caliber handgun and one from a Glock 9 mm handgun, she picked the second one as resembling the clip she saw. Joel Sansone, one of Miles' lawyers, said Sisak was carrying a 9 mm Glock that night while the other two officers were carrying .40 caliber Glocks.

Robert Leight, Ewing's lawyer, protested the identification, noting that the only difference between the two clips is that the .40 caliber clip is slightly longer.

The officers' lawyers also called Kasey Rothermund, manager of the CVS where Miles works. Rothermund testified that Miles was timid at first but was promoted to shift supervisor because of his people skills and responsibility.

“He's one of the finest, nicest young men I've ever met,” he said.

Since hiring him in April 2012, he's never had a reason to doubt Miles' word, Rothermund said.

Testimony in the trial is scheduled to wrap up sometime this week. After that, the case goes to the eight jurors.

(Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or bbowling@tribweb.com.)

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