Photo: Officer Patrick DeSaro (Left) and Officer Gregory Boss (Right)
By David Martinez
Tribune of the People has identified two other Pittsburgh Bureau of Police (PBP) officers involved in the murder of Jim Rogers, a homeless, unarmed Black man who died on October 14 after the police attacked him on October 13. Photo and video evidence has confirmed Gregory Boss and Patrick DeSaro as the officers who worked alongside Keith Edmonds to brutalize Jim Rogers, sending him in to cardiac arrest. After Edmonds tased Rogers at least four times, Boss and DeSaro arrived to assist Edmonds in violently pinning Rogers down as he pleaded for medical attention, which the officers denied.
Boss and DeSaro are visible in bystander videos arriving together in the same vehicle when Edmonds violently pushes and rolls Rogers across the street. They jump out to immediately join the attack on Rogers without any attempt to understand the situation or assist Rogers, who was screaming and pleading for help. While wrestling Rogers down, Boss puts his knee into Rogers’ back and yells at him to comply.
Video screenshots of Boss’s hat show his badge number: 3871. Tribune received a tip from a supporter to study the photos on Pittsburgh Police’s social media, and one photo from June 16 shows Boss and DeSaro together in the same photo where they are referred to as Neighborhood Resource Officers (NROs). In this photo, Boss’s badge number on his hat can be clearly seen.
Inspection of bystander video reveals DeSaro’s nameplate legible on his chest. Video of DeSaro clearly matches the photo from Pittsburgh Police’s social media where he is alongside Boss. In the video of the arrest, DeSaro is seen torturously bending Rogers legs up toward the back of his head as he tells him to “Stay the fuck down!”
Boss and DeSaro are NROs for police Zone 5, an area which includes the Bloomfield neighborhood where the officers killed Rogers. NROs are assigned to a limited area of the city, a so-called neighborhood ‘beat’, under the false idea that the police simply need to be more familiar with a community in order to address tensions between police and the people. Appearing on CNN on Tuesday, newly-elected Mayor Ed Gainey said that the police simply need to “walk the beat again” in order to improve their relations with the people.
Boss and DeSaro’s label of “Neighborhood Resource Officers” did nothing to compel them to treat Rogers humanely. ‘Neighborhood’ or ‘community’ officers murder the same as any other and expose the liberal lie of ‘community policing’ for what it is: an attempt to sanitize the police’s irredeemable role as guard dogs for the ruling class.
So far, Tribune is the only news outlet known to have identified any of the officers who took part in killing Rogers. Two weeks ago, Tribune was the first and still only news to identify Keith Edmonds as the officer who initiated the encounter and tased Rogers. During this time, local monopoly news outlets have conducted a media blackout on this information, aiding the police and government in their protection of the officers.
According to community members who spoke with Tribune, Edmonds, a resident of the Homewood area, has not been seen in the usual locales that he frequents in the weeks since the shooting. In the past weeks, hundreds of articles have been distributed in the neighborhood to community members and posters with Edmonds’ face have been posted up in local businesses.
This past weekend, activists and the family marched for Rogers, blocking traffic as the moved through city streets and temporarily occupying intersections. Rogers’ family, their supporters, and activists have been mobilizing since his death, raising the call for justice for Rogers, denouncing the police, and demanding full disclosure of all the actions of the officers the day of Rogers’ murder. The family and activists have also called for all the officers who participated in killing Rogers–Edmonds, Boss, and DeSaro–to be charged with murder.
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