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Another Pittsburgh officer reinstated after being terminated following Jim Rogers’ death

PITTSBURGH — Channel 11 Chief Investigator Rick Earle has learned that fired Pittsburgh Police officer Neyib Velazquez has reached an agreement with the city that will allow him to return to the force with back pay. His termination was reduced to a 15-day suspension.

Velazquez is one of four officers fired after the death of Jim Rogers. A fifth officer was fired but days later he was allowed to retire.

In October 2021, Officer Keith Edmonds, while investigating a report of a stolen bike in Bloomfield, hit Jim Rogers with a taser. Sources said Rogers was tased 10 times after Edmonds said he failed to comply with his commands.

As officers were transporting Rogers to the hospital, he went into cardiac arrest and died the next day.

In March 2022, five officers were fired for failing to get Rogers medical attention and violating department policies.

One of those officers was allowed to later retire.

“He didn’t deserve to lose his life at the hands of police officers,” said Mayor Ed Gainey when he announced the firings.

Two months ago, another fired officer, Pat Desao, who drove Rogers to the hospital, reached a deal with the city reducing his firing to a 30-day suspension.

Shortly after that settlement, we asked the mayor why the city agreed to that deal.

“We knew where it was going,” said Gainey.

The two remaining fired officers, Keith Edmonds and Colby Neidig are still awaiting arbitration hearings.

The medical examiner has ruled the death accidental.

The executive director of the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board said she’s not surprised the officers have been reinstated. The director of the Citizen’s Police Review Board says she’s not surprised the officers have been reinstated.

“I think the responsibility for his death is still fuzzy, you know we really can’t say this is period, end of discussion, and this is why and how and these are the people responsible for it,” said Beth Pittinger.

The city also agreed to settle a wrongful death lawsuit with the family of Jim Rogers for $8 million.

A county grand jury heard testimony in the case, but no officers were ever charged in Rogers’ death.

Two other officers who faced suspensions also had their disciplinary action reduced.

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