Photo: A Tribune article identifying Keith Edmonds as the murderer of Jim Rogers is posted up in a local market in the Homewood area of Pittsburgh.
By David Martinez
On Monday afternoon, supporters of Tribune of the People in Pittsburgh distributed hundreds of copies of Tribune’s article exposing the identity of police officer Keith Edmonds, the murderer of Jim Rogers, in the Homewood area where Edmonds reportedly lives, and spoke with some residents who knew him personally. Rogers was a homeless, unarmed Black man whom Edmonds, along with other Pittsburgh police officers, attacked earlier this month. While some people expressed shock and initial disbelief at the news, others recognized Edmonds for his arrogant demeanor towards the community in his interactions as a police officer.
The overwhelming response from Homewood residents and workers was support for Tribune’s coverage, which named Edmonds as Rogers’ killer. While some struggled with the fact that someone they knew personally had killed Rogers, many recognized the truth that no matter their personal connection, Edmond’s role as a police officer puts him in contradiction with the people, especially Black Pittsburghers who are harassed and regularly brutalized by the local police force.
Tribune supporters spoke to a group of three men in the area who said they know Edmonds. While they were initially upset at the news, one man said: “Thank you for getting the word out. I know him, it’s just hard to get my head around. But fuck the police, and fuck him cause he’s with the police.”
Local ruling class media outlets are imposing a blackout on identifying Edmonds as Rogers’ killer. The community has enthusiastically received the Tribune article which shares the facts of the case and exposes Edmonds. A worker at a local restaurant said that she would put an article in every delivery bag that went out. One store posted the article up by the cash register, and many others asked for stacks of articles to be left for customers to pick up. Tribune also shared the articles with many drivers and passersby who requested more articles to share with their friends and family.
On October 13, Edmonds responded to a call about an alleged bike theft, but found Rogers sitting on a porch, having returned the bike to where he found it. Edmonds was immediately aggressive, pursuing Rogers and tasing him four times. After being denied medical attention for 20 minutes, Rogers had a heart attack in the squad car following Edmonds’ assault and died the next day.
Due to the involvement of the bike in the incident, some residents were concerned that another local homeless man, commonly known as “bumper bike guy,” was Edmonds’ victim. Tribune has confirmed with community contacts that “bumper bike guy” is the nickname for another homeless individual and is not Jim Rogers .
One woman said she recognized Edmonds as the officer who pulled her over for a broken tail light and was not surprised by the news. Another resident whose family has personal connections to Edmonds also said the situation was unsurprising, stating that people join the police “because they are power hungry, and they do something like this.”
Individual officers are empowered by the ruling class to brutalize workers and the poor in order to maintain this oppressive society as it is. While many police officers do abuse this power, harassing and committing acts of violence against the people, the problem isn’t with individual ‘bad apples’ but with the entire backwards, capitalist society which deploys the police against the people.
One area resident was emotionally affected by the news of Edmonds as Rogers’ killer, but understood as a whole that the police do not serve the people: “This hurts, this hurts. I know [Edmonds] personally. But fuck the police.”
Tribune continues to hit the streets in order to spread the truth about Edmonds’ murder of Jim Rogers and combat the media and ruling class blackout on releasing Edmonds’ identity. Contact us to get involved with distribution, to request article printouts, and for other ways to join the people’s struggles. Our email is email@example.com.
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