Target 11: District Attorney weighs in on tasing death of Jim Rogers

ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa. — After announcing that he plans to seek re-election, District Attorney Stephen Zappala spoke out Friday about the death of Jim Rogers, who died after a Pittsburgh Police officer hit him with a taser at least ten times.

Target 11 Investigator Rick Earle questioned Zappala about the case that happened 14 months ago in Bloomfield.

Earle: Do you think officers should be charged in that case?

Zappala: Me, personally, as District Attorney, absolutely.

Earle: You saw criminality involved?

Zappala: Absolutely.

But Zappala, who has the authority to file criminal charge, has yet to take any action against any of the Pittsburgh Police officers involved in the tasing of Rogers in Bloomfield last year.

Officer Keith Edmonds, who was investigating a report of a stolen bike, tased Rogers at least ten times when he failed to comply with his orders.

Rogers died at the hospital the next day.  The Medical Examiner ruled the death accidental.

Edmonds and four other officers were ultimately fired by the city for not following regulations, including failing to provide medical attention to Rogers while on scene and on the way to the hospital.

The Police Officers Union has said they plan to appeal the firings, but those hearings have not yet happened.

Earlier this year, Zappala presented the case to a grand jury. The jurors wrapped up their examination of the case, but Zappala will not say if they recommended any charges.

He said Friday that an outside law enforcement agency that he declined to identify is still reviewing the case.

Earle: Are you suggesting there could be criminal charges from this other agency that’s now investigating?

Zappala:  I’ll tell you this, I got a problem with the use of that taser… The simplest thing about the use of a taser is you do not use it repeatedly because you can hurt somebody and you can take a human life. That’s it.

Zappala said he will eventually explain his position and why he hasn’t filed charges. He hinted that it may have to do with the other agency that’s currently reviewing the case.

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