After repeatedly using a stun gun on an arrestee who died in custody, five Pittsburgh police officers have been terminated from the department following an internal investigation.
On October 13, 2021, Pittsburgh police officers arrested Jim Rogers, 54, for allegedly stealing a bicycle that was listed for sale on a lawn and trespassing on a porch. According to witnesses, Rogers was not aggressive during the incident, but police insisted he was noncompliant.
Within three minutes and 15 seconds, Rogers was tased at least eight times by one of the officers. According to the summary of the Critical Incident Review Board, Officer Gregory Boss and Officer Patrick Desaro arrived after the tasing and helped handcuff Rogers.
At 10:57 a.m., Rogers asked Desaro and Boss for help while riding in the backseat of their patrol car. A few minutes later, Rogers slumped over and became unresponsive.
Rogers was transported to a hospital where he received CPR treatment at 11:15 a.m. He was pronounced dead on October 14, 2021.
In January, the medical examiner ruled the death accidental due to acute global hypoxic-ischemic injury of the brain.
During a news conference on Wednesday, Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey and Public Safety Director Lee Schmidt confirmed that five of the police officers involved in Rogers’ death have been terminated from the department, while three other officers were reinstated. They declined to release the names of the officers.
Attorney Robert DelGreco, who represents Officer Gregory Boss, confirmed that his client was one of the officers who had been fired after the internal review. DelGreco told reporters, “I’m sorely disappointed in the administration’s termination of Officer Boss. So that your listeners know: he is a nurturing parent, he is a doting husband, very active in the community. And he’s a 22-year veteran police officer with an impeccable and immaculate record.”
“Mr. Rogers deserved to live a life of joy. He deserved to live a long one,” Mayor Ed Gainey said during the press conference. “And he didn’t deserve to lose his life at the hands of police officers.”
“The family acknowledges five officers have been fired. But from the beginning, we have been pressing for criminal charges for all of these officers,” the Rogers’ family said in a statement. “That has always been the demand.”
None of the terminated officers currently face any criminal charges for causing the death of Jim Rogers after tasing him at least eight times.