Justice for Jim Rogers to hold commemorative march this weekend, call for officers to be charged
The group Justice for Jim Rogers will hold a march on Saturday to remember Jim Rogers and demand greater action from local leaders. Thursday marked six months since Rogers, a Black man, died in a hospital after Pittsburgh police shocked him with a Taser multiple times.
This year, five of the officers involved were fired and three were disciplined, but remained employed. The officers all appealed the decisions through the Fraternal Order of Police, the union representing Pittsburgh officers.
Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala also began a grand jury investigation of the case, which could potentially result in criminal charges for some of the officers.
The march will begin in Point Breeze and pass through Wilkinsburg.
Devon Adwoa, an activist with Justice for Jim Rogers, said the path was chosen because it passes through some of Pittsburgh’s historically Black neighborhoods, which she said have been affected by police violence.
Adwoa said the firings were just a small step towards the justice Rogers’ family wants.
“We see it as being really a façade for justice, because these officers have already appealed for arbitration,” she said, noting that officers could get their jobs back through the arbitration process or move on to another police department.
“We’re calling for Stephen Zappala to charge these officers. Regardless of the grand jury ruling that comes out, he has that power and has always had that power.”
A spokesperson for the DA said the office is not permitted to discuss the ongoing investigation.
Rogers’ family have also asked that emergency medical services workers who were at the scene be criminally charged and the body camera footage be made public.
“Jim was denied medical care due to the police officers that were on the scene, but those EMS officials have a duty to the people of Pittsburgh and especially to Jim that day, and they failed him as well,” Adwoa said.
They also asked for a “meaningful response” from Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey.
“Generally, our public officials are moving too slow, and are moving in support of the police in that way,” Adwoa said. “Slow movement on cases like this help nobody but the cops.”
A spokesperson for the mayor declined to comment, citing the ongoing grand jury investigation.
“We’re marching tomorrow to emphasize that this is what the community wants, that the community will not feel safe, and that we demand that our public officials in Pittsburgh answer our call and take these people off of the police force and put them in jail,” Adwoa said.
The march will start on Saturday at noon at the corner of Penn Avenue and North Homewood Avenue in Point Breeze.