Protests held in Pittsburgh after officer cleared in shooting – Press Herald

Protests held in Pittsburgh after officer cleared in shooting - Press Herald
Protests erupt in Pittsburgh after cop cleared in shooting of unarmed teen
Shots were fired into the Pennsylvania office of the attorney for a white police officer who was acquitted in the fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Antwon Rose II, and protests over the verdict continued Saturday.

No one was hurt in the drive-by shooting apparently directed at the office of attorney Pat Thomassey in Monroeville late Friday, said Monroeville Police Chief Doug Cole.

Michael Rosfeld, 30, a former officer in East Pittsburgh, was found not guilty of homicide Friday in the 2018 shooting of Rose.

Things ramped up in emotion when some demonstrators confronted Pitt Police officers standing watch at the University’s dorms, and then again as protesters filled restaurants, jumping from one to another. Some protesters jumped onto tables inside the restaurants.

Protesters on Saturday gathered at an intersection called Freedom Corner in the citys Hill District neighborhood, the historic center of black cultural life in Pittsburgh, the Associated Press reported.

“Stephen Zappala has been in there for far too long, and he has shown us for far too long that black lives do not matter to him. He has shown us for far too long that he does not seek true justice,” protester Christian Carter said.

“Its very painful to see what happened, to sit there and deal with it,” Roses father, Antwon Rose Sr., told the crowd. “I just dont want it to happen to our city no more. Its happening like every other day. Weve got to do more in our community so they have more stuff to do.”

“I believe that Michael Rosfeld should have not been acquitted for his crimes. I really believe that our justice system is very lacking. In fact, it’s quite disgusting,” Pitt student Alexandra Plummer said.

The front of Thomasseys office and a front window were damaged by the gunfire, and Cole said investigators believe five to eight shots were fired.

“There [are] a lot of racists out there, don’t get me wrong, but once they put on their badge, it’s, like, worse,” Daguon Rachin, of the North Side, said.

“Certainly we believe that this is in response to the Rosfeld trial, and certainly its not something thats warranted here in any community,” Cole said.

OAKLAND (KDKA) — Peaceful but passionate was how the City of Pittsburgh described the demonstrations in Oakland on Saturday by those demanding justice for Antwon Rose.

The police chief said many homes were occupied within 50 feet of the office in a residential area.

City Police were working 12-hour shifts after a jury found former East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld not guilty in Rose’s shooting death Friday.

Rose, a 17-year-old high school student, was in the front seat of an unlicensed taxicab when the back-seat passenger rolled down a window and shot at two men on the streets of North Braddock.

“We have to come together and everything. Put down the guns. We must really show unity in everything we do,” Dean Garland, of Pittsburgh, said.

Rose was shot as he and another teen ran away during a traffic stop from a vehicle matching the description of the one involved in the shooting, police said. Rose was unarmed. Two guns were found inside the vehicle.

“Our classmate, our friend was murdered, and the murderer who killed him is walking free,” Grace Brennan, Antwon’s classmate, said.

A police affidavit said Rosfeld gave conflicting statements to investigators, including that he saw something in Roses hand that he thought was a gun.

A profound wound to the community: Pittsburghs black leaders react to the Rosfeld verdict

Video of the incident captured by a bystander and posted online triggered a series of protests in the Pittsburgh area last year that included a late-night march that shut down a major highway.

Antwon Rose, the father of Antwon Rose II, speaks at a solidarity rally before marchers moved through the streets Saturday, in Pittsburgh, Pa. They were calling for justice the day after former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld was acquitted in the homicide trial where he was charged with killing 17-year-old Antwon Rose II last summer. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Protesters held signs, including one that read “Justice for Antwon” and “Black Lives Matter,” and during demonstrations chanted: “No justice, no peace. No racist police.”

The 12-person jury — including three black members — saw video of the fatal confrontation. The acquittal came after less than four hours of deliberations on the fourth day of the trial.

Protests continue day after ex-cop acquitted in fatal shooting of black teen: reports

Rose family attorney S. Lee Merritt said after the verdict that unfortunately, we have come to expect this kind of outcome all throughout the country.” He said the family is “devastated.”

Rosfeld had been with the East Pittsburgh Police Department for just a few weeks after working for other departments over seven years.

Woodland Hills community grieves over Rosfeld verdict, looks to unite

The person in the back seat of the car who shot at two people on the street, hitting one in the abdomen, pleaded guilty last week to aggravated assault and firearms violations, the AP reported.

Marchers move through the streets Saturday in Pittsburgh. The group was calling for justice the day after former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld was acquitted in the homicide trial where he was charged with killing 17-year-old Antwon Rose II last summer. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Cop cleared, protests erupt – World News

Thomassey said after the verdict Friday that the jury listened to the facts, they listened to the law, and in my opinion, they rendered the correct verdict.”

The mostly white crowd then marched through downtown Pittsburgh and other city neighborhoods, periodically blocking streets as they chanted, Who did this? Police did this! The protest soon moved onto the University of Pittsburgh campus. Police reported no immediate arrests or injuries.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said in a statement Friday that although he disagreed with the verdict, the jury had spoken.

Shortly before the traffic stop, another person in the taxi, Zaijuan Hester, rolled down a window and shot at two men on the street, hitting one in the abdomen. Hester, 18, pleaded guilty last week to aggravated assault and firearms violations. He said he, not Rose, did the shooting.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said in a statement after the verdict that he grieves with Roses family, friends and the community.

The protest — joined by a diverse group, mostly people in their 20s and students — came less than 24 hours after a jury of seven men and five women concluded that Michael Rosfeld was not guilty following a four-day trial. Rosfeld, who is white, had been charged with homicide after he shot Antwon, a black minor, three times last June — once in his back, arm, and the side of his face.

“Words cannot heal the pain so many are feeling,” Peduto said. “Only action can begin the process, a process that will take work and understanding. An understanding that inequality exists and we have a moral obligation to address it.”

Christian Carter, of Pittsburgh's East Liberty neighborhood, left, leads a chant with other supporters of Antwon Rose II after they learned of a not guilty verdict in the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh police Officer Michael Rosfeld, Friday, March 22, 2019, at the Allegheny County Courthouse in downtown Pittsburgh, Pa. (Michael M. Santiago/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)

A group of more than 100 protesters gathered in Rittenhouse Square late Saturday afternoon to speak out against the acquittal of a former East Pittsburgh police officer who shot and killed 17-year-old Antwon Rose II after a traffic stop last summer.

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Shots were fired overnight through the office window of the attorney for a white police officer acquitted in the killing of an unarmed black teenager, and several hundred people gathered in protest Saturday (March 23) over the verdict that left Pittsburgh a city on edge.

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The jurys decision late Friday in the deadly shooting of 17-year-old Antwon Rose II upset his family and touched off a nighttime demonstration by about 100 people. It was followed by another protest on Saturday afternoon at an intersection called Freedom Corner in the citys Hill District neighborhood, the historic center of black cultural life in Pittsburgh.

“Its very painful to see what happened, to sit there and deal with it,” Roses father, Antwon Rose Sr., told the crowd. “I just dont want it to happen to our city no more. Its happening like every other day. Weve got to do more in our community so they have more stuff to do.”

Addressing the “young brothers,” the teenagers father said: “Streets aint it. Read books, man. Do everything you got to do, but leave those streets alone. It aint worth it.”

“Do what you gotta do for your parents,” Antwon Rose Sr. said. “The streets ain’t it; the streets ain’t it. Read books, man. Do everything you gotta do. But leave the streets alone. It ain’t worth it. Let me tell you that.”

Overnight, five to eight shots were fired into the building where defense attorney Patrick Thomassey works, police in nearby Monroeville said. Police said they had been staking out the place as a precaution when they left to answer another call around midnight, and that was when the gunfire erupted. No one was hurt.

“We gotta do more in our communities, so they have more stuff to do,” he said. “Our kids ain’t all innocent. I know that. I wasn’t innocent. But now, in a bigger light, I see that there’s a lot that can be done.”

Former East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld was charged with homicide for shooting Rose as the teenager ran away from a traffic stop last June. Rosfeld walked out of the courtroom a free man Friday after telling the jury that he thought Rose or another suspect had a gun pointed at him and that he fired to protect himself and the community.

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“I hope that man never sleeps at night,” Roses mother, Michelle Kenney, said of Rosfeld, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I hope he gets as much sleep as I do, which is none.”

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The verdict leaves Roses family to pursue the federal civil rights lawsuit they filed against Rosfeld and East Pittsburgh, a small municipality about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from downtown Pittsburgh, where the trial was held.

“I don’t have a lot of words,” he said. “But I do thank this city, and I thank every single one of y’all for coming out here. I appreciate that. Thank you. Thank you.”

Roses death — one of many high-profile killings of black men and teens by white officers in recent years — spurred angry protests in the Pittsburgh area last year. Immediately after the verdict, scores of protesters blocke intersections and entered two hotels, chanting “17” for Roses age. No arrests were made.

Rose was riding in an unlicensed taxi that had been involved in a drive-by shooting minutes earlier when Rosfeld pulled the car over and shot the teenager in the back, arm and side of the face. Neither Rose nor another teen in the taxi was holding a weapon when the officer opened fire, though two guns were later found in the vehicle.

The 12-person jury — including three black members — saw video of the fatal confrontation. The jury took less than four hours to reach a verdict.

Thomassey, the defense lawyer, told reporters that Rosfeld is “a good man. He said to me many times, Patrick, this has nothing to do with the kids color. I was doing what I was trained to do.” Thomassey said he hopes the city remains calm and “everybody takes a deep breath and gets on with their lives.”

Pittsburgh was in the spotlight less than five months ago, when a gunman ranting about Jews killed 11 people at a synagogue.

Rosfeld had worked for the East Pittsburgh Police Department for only a few weeks and was sworn in just hours before the shooting.

Prosecutor Jonathan Fodi argued that the video showed there was no threat to the officer. But a defense expert testified Rosfeld was within his rights to use deadly force to stop suspects he thought had been involved in a shooting.

Prosecutors did not call their own use-of-force expert — a decision the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania questioned. But Mike Manko, a spokesman for the district attorneys office, said prosecutors were confident they had what they needed to make their case.

Shortly before the traffic stop, another person in the taxi,Zaijuan Hester, rolled down a window and shot at two men on the street, hitting one in the abdomen. Hester, 18, pleaded guilty last week to aggravated assault and firearms violations. He said he, not Rose, did the shooting.

Prosecutors had charged Rosfeld with an open count of homicide, meaning the jury had the option of convicting him of murder or manslaughter.

Associated Press writers Michael Rubinkam in northeastern Pennsylvania and Keith Srakocic in Pittsburgh contributed to this story.


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