As of Thursday afternoon, Officers David Sisak, Michael Saldutte, and Richard Ewing were
proclaimed innocent. The three men that (allegedly) nearly beat Homewood resident
Jordan Miles to death walked out of a courtroom leaving Jordan without any sense
of Justice; free to leave without bearing any official responsibility for the near
tragedy. “We feel this is a win, obviously a major win,” said James Wymard, attorney for
Officer Sisak. The accused officers may have won, but today, we all lost.
What does it mean when those that are charged with the task of protecting us are able to
abuse us and get away with it? What does it mean when no matter how hard we try to
fight back, we are barred from doing so? What does it mean when our civil liberties are
stripped from us and we are denied justice? Simply, it means we’re not in control.
When you think of the word winning, one of the next logical steps is to think about who
lost. The funny thing about this case is that it’s not just Miles, not just Homewood, not
just the City of Pittsburgh and all of its neighboring community, but the entire United
For those of you that have gotten out of touch with your early U.S. history, our country
was created out of a fear of oppression. We would no longer stand for certain taxes and
laws imposed on us by the British and we rebelled. Now, when a citizen of the United
States attempts to rebel, they are put in their place.
First, it was the 1995 death of Johnny Gammage at a suburban traffic stop. Countless
travesty’s later, it was the Occupy Pittsburgh’s turn to be slowly swept away. This time,
it was Miles, a man who was kicked, punched, and abused until his body almost shut
down, providing another ‘win’ to those that control us. Nobody won; society lost.
“Yes, we are hopelessly deadlocked, your honor,” the foreman said. While many may
blame the court system, the police, or the government, we must also look at ourselves. A
jury is selected at random to give an impartial verdict on a case. They are regular, plain
old U.S. citizens, and in the case of Miles, they let us down.
One could argue that the Mountain Dew bottle induced bulge in Jordan Miles’ coat
pocket would be some cause for concern, especially in an area with a reputation like
Homewood’s. However, I believe that the evidence (or lack thereof in the case of the
alleged Mountain Dew bottle) makes the case fairly simple.
Yet, the jury in the Miles case was split down the middle – half talking the side of Miles,
half taking the side of the three officers. Those people had a chance to make sure that
justice was served, and they failed, and in turn failed all of us as another innocent man
takes a beating from those sworn to protect and serve.
If we continue to sit idly by as more citizens are harassed, beaten, and even murdered,
where will we end up? When a people lose control of their government, succeeding all
power to a governing body and rendering themselves hopelessly out of control, there are
no jury’s. This isn’t a call for the death of police officers. Death is the exact opposite of
what we want. We want life, and with that freedom and equality and justice for all.
Rather, this is a call for some kind of accountability.
Programs such as the Alliance for Police Accountability are just one of the many steps
we can take towards gaining some kind of retribution for such acts. Police officers are
there for our protection, now we need to make sure that the men who we trust to carry
firearms, billy clubs, and tasers have laws of their own to follow.
The time is now – make your voice heard.
-By Andrew Gretchko-