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Not acceptable: Suspend police while beating inquiry proceeds

Written by Susan Mannella on .

The photos of 18-year-old Jordan Miles after his arrest by three plainclothes officers earlier this month suggests reason for deep concern about the nature of justice in Pittsburgh.

Reasonable people can disagree about whether a young African-American walking down the street at night in his own neighborhood warrants special attention from undercover cops trying to get guns off the street.

Reasonable people can also disagree about whether it is justified to run away from three strangers emerging from a car late at night in a bad neighborhood, whether they identify themselves as cops or not.

But something is wrong with the picture when an unarmed, 150-pound honor student is shot with a Taser and beaten badly enough to require medical attention.

Although the bulge in his clothing that attracted the attention of the cops in the first place was not a gun as they feared, he was charged with aggravated assault and resisting arrest.

The photos taken of Mr. Miles document the severity of his beating. Hair was yanked from his scalp and his face was bruised and swollen beyond recognition. This isn't supposed to happen to any kid, and it's completely unexpected when it's a violin major at the Creative and Performing Arts High School.

At the very least, Officers Richard Ewing, Michael Saldutte and David Sisak should be suspended with pay pending the outcome of a full and impartial investigation.

There are two sides to every story, and we're all eager to hear what the officers have to say in their defense. In the meantime, the public has a right to expect encounters with police not to end with a trip to the hospital, especially if a person has done nothing to warrant it.

 

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