By Oliver Williams and David Martinez
Update (10/22): In 2015, Keith Edmonds and his twin brother Karl (a bounty hunter) were involved in misleading a woman order to collect a $500 bounty reward, sending her to jail for three weeks. Read more – Pittsburgh: Officer Keith Edmonds and His Brother Karl Misled Woman to Collect Bounty in 2015
A Tribune investigation has confirmed Keith L. Edmonds as the Pittsburgh police officer who murdered Jim Rogers, an unarmed, homeless Black man. The murderous attack took place in the Bloomfield area on October 13, when Edmonds pursued and tased Rogers at least four times until other officers arrived and violently pinned Rogers down. The 54-year-old Rogers went into cardiac arrest soon after the attack, dying the next day at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Mercy Hospital.
Bystander video shared exclusively with Tribune shows the officer’s name on his uniform as K. Edmonds and badge number as 4458. The bystander confirmed to Tribune that she requested the information of the officers’ who attacked Rogers, and was provided a business card with Edmonds’ name on it.
In police scanner audio from the incident, an Officer Pedley identifies himself to dispatch, and says that Edmonds is making the arrest. Tribune is still confirming whether an Officer Pedley was directly involved in the attack on Rogers. Local monopoly media outlets have had access to this audio but have failed to identify either officer.
Tribune further confirmed Edmonds’ identity by comparing video footage with photos from a Facebook account associated with Edmonds. Apart from his employment as an officer, Edmonds, along with his brother Karl, are part of a performance group called K&K Mime Ministry, which acts out mime performances with Christian themes. He is also listed as the treasurer for a local non-profit, Lifeline Community Outreach.
In 2013, Edmonds, made a Facebook post about joining the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy: “I was a little hesitant to make a public post about this cause some might see me as the enemy now. But this is something I am really proud of and really want to do […] This is a good way to help the community.”
Edmonds’ heinous murder of Rogers reveals the bankruptcy of the idea that Edmonds or the police as a whole “help the community.” Edmonds killed Rogers over a bicycle. The original call to the police was regarding Rogers being seen riding the bicycle in the area. While the bike’s owner was intending to sell it, she has been reported as saying she likely would have given it to Rogers for free. When Rogers returned the bike to where he found it, he sat down to smoke a cigarette.
Rather than approach the situation rationally, Edmonds immediately persecuted Rogers. Police reports claim Rogers was violent and resisting arrest, however, in witnesses’ video, Rogers is heard screaming in pain after being tased multiple times by Edmonds. Rogers is heard pleading “take me to the hospital” as Edmonds attacks him. In the bystander’s video, at least four taser shots can be heard in the course of Edmonds’ pursuit before other officers arrive.
Video taken from another angle shows Edmonds violently pushing and rolling Rogers across the street. When two other unidentified officers arrive, they pin Rogers to the ground along with Edmonds. Video shows the three officers piled on top of Rogers as he lies face down. With Rogers in this position, one officer bends Rogers’ legs up toward his head, telling him to “Stay the fuck down!” even though Rogers is fully restrained.
Edmonds and the other officers denied Rogers medical care despite the presence of EMS on the scene and Rogers’ request to be taken to a hospital. Additionally, the officers involved requested a decontamination kit, stating that they had blood on their uniforms.
The officers remained at the location of the arrest for 20 minutes before leaving with Rogers in their vehicle. The officers drove past West Penn Hospital on the way to Allegheny County Jail, only changing course to the UPMC Mercy Hospital when Rogers went into cardiac arrest. 911 call logs state that Rogers was unresponsive upon arrival to the hospital. He was pronounced dead the following morning.
Edmonds’ multiple taser attacks undeniably caused Rogers’ untimely death. Deceptively branded by the police and its manufacturers as a “less-lethal” device, tasers have been involved in at least 1,000 deaths at the hands of police officers since 2000, according to a report by the Reuters news monopoly.
The police have not shared further information with Rogers’ family and say an investigation is underway. Beth Pittinger of the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board has aided in the cover-up of information, stating that the board has to wait for the District Attorney to make a determination on the officers’ conduct and that the board is “restrained” from getting answers. Additionally, the local monopoly media outlets have parroted police claims that Rogers was violent and resisting arrest and have withheld Edmonds’ identity.
On October 15, a day after Rogers’ murder, his sister-in-law and nieces, along with anti-imperialist activists from Serve the People-PGH, held a vigil and demonstration in Rogers’ honor and to begin the fight for justice. The family has demanded for Edmonds to be charged with murder as well as the Pittsburgh Police to release the names of all the officers present during the murder. The family also wants the other officers to be charged with manslaughter and for the unedited body camera footage from Edmonds to be released. Lastly, they demand to know what happened during the 20 minutes before the drive to the hospital and why the police, not EMS, transported Rogers to the hospital.
At the protest, Rogers’ niece, Diamond, told local CBS-affiliate KDKA that Rogers, “loved people, and [the protest] is the type of thing he would do for somebody else so he just…I wish he was here to see it.”
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