Officer who tased Jim Rogers tells his side of story through court filings

PITTSBURGH — It’s been ten months since Jim Rogers died after being hit with a Taser at least ten times. Five officers were fired and a county grand jury is still deciding if criminal charges should be filed against any of those responding officers.

Now, attorneys for Officer Keith Edmonds have filed a written response to a civil lawsuit filed against Officer Edmonds, ten other Pittsburgh police officers and two Pittsburgh Emergency Medical Services workers who responded to the scene.

In that court filing, Edmonds’ attorneys say Rogers matched the description of a suspect who allegedly stole a bicycle. Edmonds was responding to a complaint from a neighbor about a suspicious man who allegedly took a bike from a neighbor’s yard.

Edmonds attorneys wrote in that court filing that Rogers “resisted all reasonable efforts of Officer Edmonds, adding that his “resistance created a situation where Officer Edmonds deployed his taser but the individual continued to resist.”

Edmonds, with the assistance of backup, eventually took down and subdued Rogers. He was conscious and alert at the scene, but according to an internal police report, responding officers failed to get Rogers medical attention, even though he repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe.

Medics were also on the scene treating police officers injured during the scuffle with Rogers, but they apparently were never told to evaluate Rogers.

Police eventually drove Rogers to Mercy Hospital. When they arrived, he was unconscious.

“Officer Edmonds and the other officers removed Mr. Rogers from the police car and Officer Edmonds immediately began to perform CPR on Mr. Rogers,” Edmonds’ attorneys wrote.

Rogers died the next day and after an internal investigation, Pittsburgh Police fired five officers, including Edmonds, for allegedly violating internal policies; among them, failing to provide proper care and use of excessive force.

Edmonds’ attorneys deny that the officer used excessive force.

“Officer Edmonds acted with and pursuant to a bonafide good-faith belief that his actions were lawful, privileged, justified and in keeping with his proper duties as a police officer,” they wrote in the federal court filing.

Rogers family filed the federal civil lawsuit against 11 Pittsburgh police officers and two Pittsburgh Emergency Medical Services workers.

In February, Target 11 reported that some of the responding officers and witnesses were called to appear before a county grand jury investigating whether criminal charges should be filed against any of the officers involved.

The Allegheny County District Attorney’s office declined to comment on the status of that probe.

“Our office is not permitted to comment on the existence of or the operation of the Allegheny County investigative grand jury,” said district attorney spokesperson Mike Manko.

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