NPR
Friday, February 10, 2012

City to Offer Settlement in Jordan Miles Lawsuit

Pittsburgh City Council introduced a measure Tuesday that would absolve the city of direct liability in the Jordan Miles police brutality lawsuit, in exchange for $75,000 to the plaintiff.
(Justice for Jordan Miles Campaign)
Jordan Miles following an encounter with Pittsburgh Police in January 2010.

Pittsburgh City Council introduced a measure Tuesday that would absolve the city of direct liability in the Jordan Miles police brutality lawsuit, in exchange for $75,000 to the plaintiff.

The settlement would not end the lawsuit against the Bureau of Police, only the city proper.

Miles was beaten by three Pittsburgh Police officers while walking unarmed in Homewood on January 11, 2010. At the time, he was a student at the city’s Creative and Performing Arts High School. The officers said they thought Miles had a weapon.

Black Political Empowerment Project Chairman Tim Stevens said he’s okay with the settlement if the Miles family is.

It is only part of the process,” said Stevens. “This is not a resolution of the issue. I personally would like to see Mr. Jordan [Miles] get a lot more money than $75,000.”

Stevens said he is bothered that there might never be an admission of guilt or fault from the three policemen who beat Miles.

An apology would have been the beginning of the healing process — to say, ‘It appears we may have overreacted, and we’re going to fix it for the future,’” said Stevens.

The B-PEP leader lobbied City Council on Tuesday to start implementing a package of bills called the “Jordan Miles Public Safety Reform Agenda.” Stevens said the four police accountability bills passed in October, but he hasn’t seen any effort to put the new laws into practice.

Stevens pointed to the Citizens Police Review Board as evidence that city leaders are lagging on issues of police/community relations.

On the Citizens Police Review Board, we have one vacancy and three persons who are serving expired terms, but they’re still serving,” said Stevens. “We want to make sure those appointments are made, and made in a timely fashion. One person left in June; he’s still not reappointed.”

Stevens said he’s also asked Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and other city administrators to begin implementing the four bills.