PITTSBURGH — A former Pittsburgh police officer who was fired and then sued in federal court after tasing a suspect accused of stealing a bicycle is being sued again for another incident involving a taser.
Attorney Todd Hollis filed the federal civil lawsuit against former officer Keith Edmonds, the City of Pittsburgh, and Target.
In the suit, Hollis contends that Edmonds was working an off-duty security detail at the Target store in East Liberty when he began chasing a shoplifting suspect, Troy Reed, through the parking garage.
According to the criminal complaint, Reed was seen leaving the store with a bag containing a speaker that he allegedly swiped from the store. Outside the store, Reed is seen on surveillance video handing the bag to a Target employee and then taking off.
Edmonds said he ordered Reed to stop but Reed kept on running.
A Target employee and two Pittsburgh Police officers also assisted Edmonds as he pursued Reed as he fled through the parking garage adjacent to the store.
According to the criminal complaint, Edmonds ordered Reed to stop multiple times and he warned him that he was going to use his taser.
On the video, Reed is seen running to the back of the parking garage and Edmonds then fires his taser, striking Reed just outside the view of the surveillance cameras.
“These are civil rights violations that Mr. Reed has made allegations and we have filed that claim, and we believe it speaks for itself,” said Hollis.
Reed falls to the ground and medics are called in to evaluate him.
He said he had asthma and was having trouble breathing.
He was taken to the hospital for treatment.
In the federal civil lawsuit, Hollis claims the use of the taser was “excessive since Reed was not fleeing from a serious crime or otherwise a danger or potential danger to any other person.”
The suit also alleges that “Edmonds use of force was in contravention to Pittsburgh policy, which only permitted Edmonds to use his taser if Reed was actively resisting, aggressively non-compliant, violent, or potentially violent. Reed did not fall into any of those categories.”
“Mr. Reed is okay. Mr. Reed is hopeful to have his day in court. He certainly understands that he has to be accountable for his issues and what part he played in this matter, and to that extent he’s hired my office to look into the facts to determine if there are other individuals that also need to be held accountable,” said Hollis, not naming anyone but clearly alluding to Edmonds.
Rogers died at the hospital the next day.
Edmonds and four other officers were fired for violating policy.
Just last month, the city settled a civil lawsuit with Rogers’ family for $8 million.
Hollis represented them and says the goal is to bring about change and accountability.
“The money is the small thing. It helps the victim, but for the sake of the community if these things are not addressed or don’t change somebody else’s mother, father, brother, and sister will find themselves in the same situation,” said Hollis.
The complaint states that Reed suffered injuries as a result of the tasing, but his attorney declined to elaborate.
The City of Pittsburgh declined to comment on the new lawsuit.
Channel 11 reached out to Target, but as of the time this article was published, had not heard back.
Reed pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor retail theft charge and was given probation.
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