PITTSBURGH — 11 Investigates has been breaking new details on the Jim Rogers’ tasing case for months now.
Chief Investigator Rick Earle has uncovered new information about what did and did not happen that day, despite a lack of cooperation and transparency from the city.
The cell phone video of Jim Rogers being tased by a Pittsburgh Police officer is disturbing to watch, as Rogers rolls across the street multiple times in an effort to elude the taser.
Edmonds was investigating a report of a stolen bicycle in Bloomfield two years ago when he said Rogers failed to comply with his commands.
Since the incident, it has been widely and repeatedly reported that Rogers was tased ten times, but sources now tell Earle that while Edmonds pulled the trigger at least ten times, only two taser strikes actually hit Rogers.
Rogers died at the hospital the next day.
The medical examiner ruled his death accidental, and no criminal charges were ever filed against the officers.
The city agreed to pay the Rogers family $8 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit.
Edmonds and three other officers were fired for excessive force and failing to get Rogers medical attention.
But all of the fired officers except Edmonds, who’s awaiting his arbitration hearing, have returned to the force.
A third officer just got his job back on Tuesday after reaching an agreement with the city.
All of the reinstated officers will get back pay. They’ve been off the job for nearly two years.
It’s unclear why the city decided to reinstate the officers.
But 11 Investigates has learned brand new information that may explain why the city relented and agreed to return the officers to the force.
Sources tell 11 investigates that police body cam video may have played a big part.
In that video, sources said one of the officers who drove Rogers to the hospital turned to his supervisor before leaving the scene and asked about getting Rogers medical help.
Officer: “Hey, L-T, want me to have the medics check him out here.”
Lt.: “Nope, he’s good, get him down to Mercy (hospital)”
That supervisor decided to retire from the bureau before the city took any disciplinary action.
Sources said Rogers repeatedly asked for help, saying he couldn’t breathe.
As officers drove him to the hospital, Rogers went into medical distress.
Sources said the officers thought Rogers was sleeping.
Outside the hospital the hospital, they discovered him unconscious in the back of the police cruiser.
Edmonds who was following them in his police cruiser, ran up to the car, pulled Rogers out and began CPR.
During a news conference last week, the city attorney said a medical expert for the police union contends Rogers died from a seizure disorder.
As 11 investigates first reported Tuesday night, sources said Rogers had cocaine in his system, may have been in alcohol withdrawal at the time of the tasing and hadn’t taken his seizure medication.
An expert medical witness for the police union, who will testify in the Edmonds arbitration hearing, claims Rogers died from a seizure disorder.
Even though the medical examiner ruled the cause of death accidental, no criminal charges were ever filed against the officers and the officers are being reinstated, the city attorney last week defended the $8 million settlement with the Rogers family and the firing of the four officers.
“Since the beginning, we believed the officers’ actions that day caused the death of Mr. Rogers,” said City of Pittsburgh Solicitor Krysia Kubiak
Edmonds will likely go to an arbitration hearing in January.
All of the new information exposed by 11 Investigates during the last month also surprised city council, which last week moved to stop the first payment in the settlement until they could get more information.
The city solicitor also said they moved to stop the payment because they discovered that all the appropriate paperwork in the settlement agreement hadn’t been filed yet.
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