On Oct. 13, 2021, a Bloomfield resident called the police to report Rogers allegedly stealing, then returning, a bike from a neighbor’s front yard. The police tased Rogers eight times after arriving at the scene. Rogers reportedly asked for help and medical attention at least 13 times as he was sitting in the back of a Pittsburgh Police vehicle after he was tased. He was transported to a hospital, but “exhibited a medical emergency” outside the hospital and died the next day.
“First and foremost, my heart and my prayers go out to the Rogers family, their friends, and the entire city,” Gainey said at the March 23 press conference.
Gainey responded to criticism that the city took too long to announce the outcome of the investigation into Rogers’ death, saying investigators worked “as thoroughly and efficiently as they can without jeopardizing this case.”
“Mr. Rogers deserved to live a life of joy,” Gainey continued. “He deserved to live a long life. He didn’t deserve to lose his life at the hands of police officers. What his life could have been will stay with me as long as I am the mayor of this city.”
“We welcome the decision by Mayor Gainey’s office to fire five of the Pittsburgh police officers ... involved in the killing and violation of civil rights of Jim Rogers,” writes the Alliance for Police Accountability in a statement on the announcement. “Never in the history of Pittsburgh have we seen this level of accountability when it comes to police misconduct, abuse of power, or state sanctioned violence. This first step in the process of accountability is necessary to change police culture and to regain the trust of the public.”
APA also urges the city to reevaluate Pittsburgh Police policies around Tasers, calling the officers’ multiple tasings of Rogers “excessive, unjustified, and never necessary.”