WASHINGTON - The Justice Department announced today that it will not pursue criminal charges against three Pittsburgh Bureau of Police officers in connection with the events of Jan. 12, 2010, involving former Pittsburgh School for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) student Jordan Miles.
Officials from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the FBI met today with Jordan Miles and his family to inform them of the decision.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office , the Civil Rights Division and the FBI, working together, conducted an exhaustive review of the incident, which included interviews of more than 40 witnesses, some on multiple occasions, visits to the scene and careful review of all police reports, medical records, photographs, laboratory reports, cell phone records and other documentation related to the incident. After thorough review of all of the evidence, experienced federal officials concluded that there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a violation of the applicable federal criminal civil rights statutes.
Under the applicable federal criminal civil rights laws, prosecutors must establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a law enforcement officer willfully deprived an individual of a constitutional right. Proving “willfulness” is a heavy burden, and means that it must be proven that the officer acted with the deliberate and specific intent to do something the law forbids. To act “willfully,” for purposes of the federal statute, means to act with a bad purpose to disobey or disregard the law. Neither negligence, accident, mistake, fear nor bad judgment is sufficient to establish such a criminal violation. After a lengthy, independent and thorough review consuming hundreds of hours of agent and prosecutor time, federal officials determined that the evidence was insufficient to prove a federal civil rights violation, beyond a reasonable doubt, against any of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police officers.
The Justice Department is committed to investigating allegations of excessive force by law enforcement officers and will continue to devote the resources necessary to ensure that all allegations of serious civil rights violations are fully and completely investigated.