By Maria Decoteau
Activists and supporters of Jim Rogers held a protest on Friday in front of Pittsburgh’s City-County Building to continue the struggle for people’s justice for Jim Rogers. Protesters denounced Allegheny County, the city government, and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, which has drawn out the investigation into Rogers’ murder and are working to protect the identities of the officers who killed him.
The protest comes nearly a month after Jim Rogers was killed on October 14, after officers Keith Edmonds, Gregory Boss, and Patrick DeSaro attacked him in the Bloomfield neighborhood. It was Officer Edmonds who tased Rogers at least eight times, as Boss and DeSaro arrived and violently detained Rogers, later denying him medical care despite his pleas. Tribune of the People is the only news outlet to have identified the officers, while monopoly media outlets have instituted a media blackout on revealing their names.
Friday’s protest began at an intersection and later moved into the roadway as organizers chanted, “Off of the sidewalks and into the streets!” marching through downtown. They went to the City-County building, where they blocked traffic on Grant Street.
Protesters carried signs with the demands of Rogers’ family, which included charging all officers with murder who were involved in Rogers’ killing, and identifying all of the officers who responded to the situation. They are also calling for the release of unedited body camera footage, call logs, and surveillance footage from Mercy Hospital, where Rogers was taken and later pronounced dead. The county’s investigation has not released any of this information or any other findings to the public or Rogers’ family thus far.
While protesters gathered before marching, an activist led the crowd in the chant of “One solution: revolution!” The activist told the crowd, “We will continue to talk about Jim Rogers, and all victims of police brutality in this city, until we see the justice that we deserve.”
Protesters held a banner that read, “People’s justice for Jim Rogers!” as well as a banner that read, “Police Officer Keith Edmonds is a murderer.” In ruling-class media coverage after the protest, the banner with Edmonds’ name was excluded from coverage, or strategically obscured.
The organizer highlighted the inability of liberal identity politics to answer the contradiction of a Black police officer murdering a Black homeless man, which refutes the idea that having more “diverse” police forces is the solution to a racist system. She mockingly quoted Ed Gainey, the mayor-elect of Pittsburgh: “‘Born Black but put on the Blue’ as Ed Gainey says. Even though he’s [Edmonds] a Black man from Pittsburgh, … he demonstrates with his actions the class stand every police officer takes when they take up the badge, when they take up their gun in service of the ruling class.”
“We are not here to beg these cops, to beg these politicians, or to beg the DA to hear us. … We are here to stand in solidarity with each other, despite the ruling class’s efforts to divide us,” The activist recounted the people’s dedication to winning answers and justice for Jim Rogers over the past month, concluding her speech saying that the people, “will take up our own fight for the world we want to see. For people’s justice, for a better world, for socialism, and for revolution!”
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