“Pittsburgh Police Murdered Jim Rogers” Painted on Mayoral Campaign Offices

By Jakob Stein

On October 22, graffiti reading “Pittsburgh police murdered Jim Rogers,” was seen on the campaign offices for Pittsburgh mayoral candidates Tony Moreno and Ed Gainey. The graffiti refers to Jim Rogers, the unarmed, homeless Black man killed by officer Keith Edmonds earlier this month. One of the glass doors at Moreno’s office had also been broken.

Tony Moreno Campaign Offices
Ed Gainey’s Campaign Offices

Gainey is a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and previously served as a ‘community development specialist’ for previous mayors. Gainey touts his record in this role of “improving hiring practices” and instituting diversity education for the Pittsburgh Police. In talking about his upbringing, his website reads, “Police officers would patrol the neighborhood because the importance of community policing was recognized and respected.” He claims that his goal is to increase trust of the police in working class communities with a more “respectful” police force and regular patrolling while not tolerating racist comments from officers.

Moreno, the other candidate for Pittsburgh mayor, is a former police officer himself. In response to the graffiti and shattered glass door, he told local monopoly media outlet Epoch Times that whoever carried out the action just didn’t understand who he is or what he stands for. He said, “I believe we need change in our police department, and we need accountability.” On the issue of the police killing of Rogers however, he stated quite plainly that “Police did what they are trained to do,” but also contradicted himself, saying the encounter should have been handled differently.

The police and their allies in the monopoly media have sought to cover for those officers responsible for Rogers’ death. The police department is refusing to release the names of those involved and the local news outlets have actively avoided naming Edmonds as Rogers’ killer. The monopoly media has gone so far as to blur images of Edmonds’ face and name in their coverage of a press conference, working in tandem with the police to bury Edmonds’ identity.

Both candidates use lies about changing the system of policing to appeal to the many working people of Pittsburgh who rightly have no trust or respect for the police. Their plans to prevent the cold-blooded murder of innocent people and daily harassment from officers rest on vague calls for “accountability,” diversity education, and “community policing.” Their empty promises are nothing new for politicians as they attempt to make slight changes to the department while leaving all the brutality and oppression associated with the police intact.

In recent weeks, graffiti has also been seen around Pittsburgh with the slogans “Elections, no! Revolution, yes!” and “Don’t vote, fight for revolution!” The struggle for People’s Justice for Jim Rogers should not be seen as separate from the revolutionary call to boycott bourgeois elections—the politicians exist to defend this system, not to destroy it, just as they will not fundamentally change their racist system of policing which protects their system. The people of Pittsburgh who desire justice for the victims of police violence should not trust the hollow words of the politicians or the farce of an election that will take place next week. Instead, all those fighting for justice can accomplish far more by uniting and organizing against the police and the rotten government which props them up.

A Tony Moreno campaign ad with “Elections no! Revolution yes!” painted on it with a hammer and sickle.

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