PITTSBURGH — Target 11 exclusively learned that the city of Pittsburgh plans to fire six officers involved in the Taser electrocution of a homeless man in Pittsburgh’s Bloomfield neighborhood.
Jim Rogers was stunned with a Taser 10 times by Officer Keith Edmonds, who is among the officers reportedly being fired. Rogers died the next day.
During the moments Officer Edmonds repeatedly used his Taser on him in Bloomfield in October, Rogers repeatedly asked for help, captured by body camera footage that revealed Rogers heard saying “I can’t breathe.”
Target 11 Investigator Rick Earle also learned that Officer Edmonds followed the car Rogers was in to the hospital and began performing CPR outside of the hospital before doctors and nurses took over.
Earle learned in December that the highest-ranking police officer on duty that day retired ahead of possible disciplinary action.
“I do absolutely agree with the decision. Based on what we know now, which is what the public knows, it is certainly a negative on the officers, and on the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police,” said Beth Pittinger with the Citizen’s Police Review Board.
Pittinger pointed out, just because these officers may be fired, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will face criminal charges.
“There’s a big difference between administrative misconduct and liability to the city for an officer’s behavior and conduct, and a criminal culpability,” Pittinger added.
Channel 11 spoke with former Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, who was tightlipped on where things stand with the city’s recommendation.
“I don’t want to jeopardize anything in this case. It’s far too important, and all discipline is left to the public safety director,” Peduto said.
Medical Examiner concludes death investigation
The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office concluded its investigation into how Rogers died.
The cause of death was listed as Acute Global Hypoxic Ischemic Injury of the Brain. Essentially, Rogers’ brain did stopped receiving enough oxygen causing cells to die and life-sustaining bodily functions ceased.
The ME’s report also said the manner of death was accidental. According to the state definition in Pennsylvania, an accidental death is one that occurs “as the result of an event with unintentional consequences.”
A spokesperson for the Fraternal Order of Police sent Channel 11 a statement:
“The findings by the Medical Examiner regarding the sad and unfortunate death of Mr. Rogers is why politicians and law enforcement leadership are supposed to patiently await full investigative findings before drawing conclusions. Perhaps now the officers involved will be treated with proper due process rather than being tried with media leaks and speculation.”
Allegheny County District Attorney Mike Manko also issued a statement:
“Dr. Williams has always been objective in his medical analysis. It is obvious that Mr. Rogers’ interaction with the police is central to a determination of criminal culpability in connection with the cause of death. As is usual, such a determination will require further scrutiny and explanation by Dr. Williams and his office.”
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