When justice is constipated, fissures develop.
Community and civil rights activists sought swifter justice for Jordan Miles on Thursday, urging the arrests of three police officers accused of beating the teenager this year.
"Here we are sweating in mid-August, and we don't have it resolved," said Tim Stevens, head of the Black Political Empowerment Project, a Hill District advocacy group. "If we cannot have justice in the beating of Jordan Miles, who in this city is safe from police abuse?" (Trib, Adam Brandolph)
Must-read background to yesterday's petition delivery the Courthouse appears in this week's City Paper. That article's hook is that the three officers on leave continue to get paid, including considerable "overtime". That may seem wrong, but it should become clear that that much is inevitable -- they have yet to be charged with any wrongdoing.
Of course they've yet to be cleared of anything either, and therein lies the problem.
"It was our advice that a prudent course of action was to keep the [city's] investigation open pending the outcome of the federal investigation," says Regan. "The federal investigation may reveal new or additional evidence that would benefit our investigation." (CP, Chris Young)
What our city's solicitor means is, "Can you imagine if we find fault with these guys, and the Feds clear them? Oy! Or can you imagine if we clear them, then the Feds convict? Double oy!"
A worrisome Catch-22 that I do not envy at all. Yet maybe it should highlight the importance of the city doing its investigation of the incident well and getting it right, so that there will be no direct contradictions -- instead of the city waiting on the Feds, who may be concerned with broader or deeper aspects which would explain the time being consumed.
"I don't know what to say about this," says David Harris, a University of Pittsburgh law professor who specializes in police issues. "It's very peculiar." (ibid)
Co-sign 'peculiar'. This can't be the first time a local government has faced this quandary.