Allegheny County

High-ranking Pittsburgh police officer retires ahead of possible action in death of homeless man

PITTSBURGH — Target 11 has new and exclusive details on the fallout from the arrest of a homeless man in Pittsburgh’s Bloomfield neighborhood who later died.

Jim Rogers was hit with a taser more than eight times after allegedly stealing a bicycle in October. He died the next day.

Target 11 Investigator Rick Earle has confirmed that the highest-ranking police officer on duty that day just announced his retirement Monday.

Multiple sources tell Earle that the lieutenant on duty who responded to the scene submitted his retirement papers and retired effective today.

This comes after an exclusive Target 11 Investigation revealed last week that as many as six officers may be fired or demoted for their involvement in the incident. Target 11 reported last week that the victim, Rogers, was hit more than eight times  with the stun gun and that Pittsburgh medics responding to the scene to evaluate Rogers were told by police they weren’t needed.

Rogers was transported by two patrol officers to Mercy Hospital where he died the next day. Sources told Earle that the officers were talking with Rogers, and they thought he had just fallen asleep. Sources said the officers could have stopped at nearby West Penn Hospital but passed right by it and took Rogers to Mercy Hospital. Sources said that is the designated hospital where a suspect is typically taken after they have been hit with a stun gun badly enough to need medical attention.

The officer said he pulled the stun gun on Rogers because he failed to comply with his commands.  Sources told Earle the officer should have waited for backup before pulling the weapon because Rogers was not causing a safety issue.

Sources said the officers who responded violated policies and procedures and will face disciplinary action.  Mayor Bill Peduto told Earle last week that he will announce any disciplinary action before he leaves office in early January.  Allegheny County police are conducting an investigation to determine if criminal charges should be filed.  The medical examiner has yet to rule on the cause and manner of death.