Pittsburgh: Community Fights for Jim Rogers, State Leaks Rumors of Officer Firings and Retirements

Photo: A vigil held at the First United Methodist Church of Pittsburgh for Rogers on December 12

By Maria DeCoteau

Roughly two months after the murder of Jim Rogers, community members and Rogers’ family continue to fight for justice as the State drags its feet in doling out disciplinary action or criminal charges for Rogers’ murder. Rogers was an unarmed, homeless Black man killed by Officer Keith Edmonds, who tased Rogers at least eight times. Other officers were part of the attack, and many others on the scene actively prevented Rogers from receiving medical attention.

Unnamed sources have told monopoly media outlet WPXI that four officers associated with Jim Rogers’ murder could be fired, two may be demoted, and one may retire before action is taken. While the monopoly media refused to name many of the officers involved in Rogers’ death, Tribune of the People previously identified Keith Edmonds as having murdered Rogers, and officers Gregory Boss and Patrick DeSaro as those who violently detained Rogers and denied his pleas for medical attention.

Officer Leroy Schrock has also been identified as an additional officer on the scene by monopoly media outlet Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Schrock arrived after a “call for assistance” was put out during Jim Rogers’ arrest. Lieutenant Matt Gaunter, the highest ranking officer at the scene of Rogers’ arrest, has also been identified as the officer who plans to retire before any disciplinary action.

At least seven officers out of the twelve that were on the scene are under investigation including Edmonds, Boss, DeSaro, newly-identified Leroy Schrock, and three lieutenants, including Gaunter. It has also been revealed that Keith Edmonds had initially failed the police entrance exam but was allowed to retake it, possibly because of the influence of local politicians.

Mayor William Peduto of Pittsburgh has made hollow calls for the officers involved in the murder to receive disciplinary action as soon as possible in order to avoid upheaval before he leaves office on January 3.

Despite Peduto’s words, government officials have used any excuse to delay taking action against the officers involved. Allegheny county district attorney Stephen Zappala says he is waiting on medical examination results before making a decision as to whether or not to charge any of the officers involved with a crime, despite clear video evidence showing Edmonds repeatedly beating and tasing Rogers.

Undeterred by the city’s delays in reaching any conclusions on the murder, Rogers’ family and the community have maintained a fighting spirit in demanding justice and remembering Rogers’ life. On Sunday, December 12, First United Methodist Church of Pittsburgh held a vigil for Rogers.

“No one should lose their life after walking down the street, seeing a bike for sale, and taking it for a stroll,” said an activist at the vigil. Rogers had taken a bike that was part of a yard sale for a test ride and returned it to where he found it. Officer Edmonds, arriving to the scene in response to a call for an allegedly stolen bike, had no interest to investigate the reality of the situation, and immediately treated Rogers with hostility.

Rogers family and local activists organized another protest outside of the City County Building this past Friday. Rogers’ family, friends and community have continued to demand justice despite the State’s delays and unwillingness to identify Rogers’ murderers and administer any consequences.

“We no longer have Jim Rogers in the community and these officers [Edmonds, Boss and DeSaro] remain on paid leave in the comfort of their homes while Jim Rogers’ family is without a son, without an uncle, without a brother and so much more,” stated an activist at Friday’s protest. “We demand that these officers be charged.”

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