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Jim Rogers' death ruled an accident by Allegheny County Medical Examiner

Many attendees made signs to remember Jim Rogers and protest police brutality.
Julia Zenkevich
90.5 WESA
Many attendees at recent protests and vigils made signs to remember Jim Rogers and protest police brutality.

The Allegheny County Office of the Medical Examiner has ruled Jim Rogers’ death in October was an accident and that the cause of his death was acute global hypoxic-ischemic injury of the brain — or a lack of oxygen to the brain.

Rogers, 54, died in the hospital on Oct. 14, one day after Pittsburgh Police officers shocked him with a Taser during an encounter involving the report of a stolen bicycle in Bloomfield. Police said Rogers was non-compliant when they arrested him in connection with the theft, although neighbors said Rogers returned the bike before police arrived and that he was experiencing a crisis before officers shocked him multiple times.

According to police documents obtained by the Tribune-Review, Rogers asked for but did not receive medical attention after police shocked him. He later was taken to UPMC Mercy.

Pennsylvania recognizes five manners of death. A death that is ruled an accident is one “that occurs as the result of an event with unintentional consequences.”

The city of Pittsburgh made a number of policy changes after Rogers’ death and took “disciplinary action” against the eight officers involved in the incident. Some experts on police procedure have said, however, that the officers had no justification for using a Taser against Rogers in the first place.

Community members and Rogers’ family have continued to press authorities for answers about Rogers’ death in the months since. They held multiple protests and vigils and have called for police officials to publicly identify the officers involved and release the unedited body camera footage to the public, among other demands.

The Allegheny County District Attorney's office has been reviewing the circumstances of Rogers' death while the medical examiner's investigation was pending. In a statement Monday night, Mike Manko, a spokesman for District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr., said "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 [Chief Medical Examiner] Dr. [Karl E.] Williams and his office."



Julia Zenkevich reports on Allegheny County government for 90.5 WESA. She first joined the station as a production assistant on The Confluence, and more recently served as a fill-in producer for The Confluence and Morning Edition. She’s a life-long Pittsburgher, and attended the University of Pittsburgh. She can be reached at