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Information and investigation sought in death of man shocked by police Taser

Jim Rogers press conference rally protest vigil sign.jpg
Julia Zenkevich
90.5 WESA
Many attendees made signs to remember Jim Rogers and protest police brutality.

Close to 100 people gathered in Friendship Park Friday night to remember Jim Rogers, a Black man who died one day after Pittsburgh police shocked him with a Taser while arresting him on Oct. 13.

Attendees at the gathering called for authorities to identify the officer who shocked Rogers and other officers involved in his arrest, as well as more information about the encounter. They also demanded more accountability from the police.

Rogers was arrested after the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police responded to reports of an alleged theft in Bloomfield, according to Allegheny County Police, who are investigating Rogers' death. Police said Rogers became “non-compliant” during the arrest and was shocked with the Taser.

According to witnesses and speakers at the gathering Friday, however, Rogers was not violent and appeared to be experiencing a crisis. They said he took a bicycle from the yard of a home in the neighborhood but later returned it before police arrived. A cause of death has not been released.

Flyers circulated for the gathering, which referred to it as a press conference, asked people to “stand with the family in the fight for justice.”

No speakers identified themselves as family members, but one person, identified only as Devon, spoke on behalf of Rogers’ family.

“We would love some transparency from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, some understanding as to why Jim wasn’t helped and why the officers are being protected,” Devon said.

“Jim Rogers was a talented artist. He was a loving and caring friend,” Devon said. “He was a hilarious man who always had a smile on his face.”

Speakers at the gathering named the officer they believe Tased Rogers, but those reports have not been confirmed by authorities or independently verified.

“We demand justice for Jim Rogers,” Devon said.

Speakers also called for the names of other officers involved in the incident to be released, and charges to be filed against them. They asked for further investigation of EMS officials who they say failed to treat Rogers, and the public release of unedited body camera footage and call logs pertaining to the incident.

In an email, Mike Manko, a spokesperson for the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office, said, “The Allegheny County Police are the lead agency in conducting this investigation. We are working closely with them to determine the appropriate way forward.”

County police Assistant Superintendent Victor Joseph said the agency’s investigation is “active and ongoing.”

Authorities have not released additional information about Rogers’ death since an initial statement.

Julia Zenkevich is a general assignment reporter 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 jzenkevich@wesa.fm.
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