Studies of police violence consistently show only a few percent (somewhere between 2 and 4 percent) of all police officers engage in this sort of vigilante behavior. However, it is also commonly found that the majority of officers who engage in vigilante behavior have prior histories of multiple complaints for excessive force. All of the officers involved in this assault have been on the Pittsburgh force for five years. If there is anything in their records that points towards a history of abuse, then the problem is no longer three rogue cops. The system itself has a problem and that means we are all at risk.
The last point is particularly troubling. Based on the statistical probability that one or more of these officers would have a record of similar misconduct, I checked to see if anything came up.
Turns out I hit a double jackpot.
Mr. Lewis [attorney for Jordan Miles] said the city should also investigate the officers' conduct because two of them, Mr. Saldutte and Mr. Sisak, have federal lawsuits pending against them.
I'm shocked. SHOCKED I tell you.
In July, an inmate, Jamil Sharif Gray, sued Mr. Saldutte, saying the officer "assaulted" him "which resulted in severe injuries" during his arrest in February 2009 on a string of drug and traffic charges. Bryan Campbell, an attorney for the FOP, responded in a court filing that Mr. Gray resisted and "reasonable force had to be used to overcome said resistance."
In July 2008, James S. Stringer sued, saying Mr. Sisak racially profiled him when he stopped his vehicle in Bloomfield. Mr. Sisak wrote in court papers that he did not know Mr. Stringer's race when he stopped him on license registration violations, charges that were later dismissed. The federal suit is still open.
The more we learn, the more this case provides a new definition for "brutally beaten" by police.
Miles' family and attorney say he was hit with a stun gun and hospitalized after the violent struggle, during which a chunk of his hair was yanked out and a tree branch went through his gums.
What? A stun gun AND a tree branch? Even if you spot them the hair pull...a tree branch? Through his gums? Really? Three veteran cops armed with deadly force accost a kid they think is armed and they need stun guns AND tree branches? Is that how veteran Pittsburgh police officers think you neutralize an armed suspect? It just keeps getting more and more outrageous. This is not a "training" problem. This is a threat to public safety. There is no excuse for allowing repeat violent offenders to wander the streets armed and dangerous,especially if they are armed with a badge... and whatever else they can put their hands on.