Investigates

11 Investigates: Retired Pittsburgh officer critical of Jim Rogers’ response

PITTSBURGH — 11 Investigates has obtained a copy of a report on the Jim Rogers’ tasing case that was done by retired Pittsburgh police officer Dave Wright. Wright was hired by the Rogers’ family attorney Todd Hollis to investigate the tasing of Jim Rogers.

Rogers died the day after he was tased multiple times by a Pittsburgh police officer who was investigating reports of a stolen bicycle in Bloomfield two years ago.

>> Bodycam video released of interactions between Jim Rogers, Pittsburgh police before, during tasing

Hollis used Wright’s report to settle an $8 million wrongful death lawsuit with the city of Pittsburgh.

In the report, Wright wrote, “Officer Edmonds created this jeopardy by violating policy and training and acting in a negligent and reckless manner.”

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He said Edmonds should have never pulled the taser in that situation.

“There was no attempt to de-escalate and in fact, Edmonds initiated the escalation through poor tactics, judgement and violation of policies and law,” Wright wrote.

Wright was also highly critical of officers and supervisors he said failed to provide medical assistance to Rogers.

“Jim Rogers very early on in the use of force incident starts to show signs of breathing difficulty. He continues to show visible signs of breathing difficulty throughout the incident. His breathing is labored, heavy and at times he appears to be hyperventilating…Rogers on numerous occasions tells the officers that he can’t breathe,”  Wright stated in the report.

Wright also noted that several times officers told Rogers help was on the way.

“…it is my opinion that the negligence and recklessness of Edmonds and all officers on scene (to include supervisors) for failing to respond to Jim Rogers in the midst of a medical emergency and the officers failed to take reasonable measures to render aid to him…This failure to act amounts to “deliberate indifference on behalf of police,” wrote Wright, who spent 26 years in law enforcement and had served as the city’s lead us of force instructor.

Four officers were fired, but the city agreed to reinstate three of them with back pay. Edmonds is the only officer still off the job but he’s awaiting an arbitration hearing in an attempt to get reinstated.

>> 3rd Pittsburgh police officer fired after Jim Rogers’ death reinstated

The medical examiner ruled the death accidental and a grand jury heard testimony but no criminal charges were ever filed against the officers.

Sources told 11 Investigates that Rogers had cocaine in his system, was likely in alcohol withdrawal and hadn’t taken his seizure medication.

>> Man tased by Pittsburgh police had cocaine in system, no seizure medication

An expert medical witness for the police union has said Rogers died from a seizure disorder.

Sources also told 11 Investigates that Rogers’ mother denied.

The city administration said they settled the wrongful death lawsuit because they believed that the officers caused Rogers’ death.

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