Passionate protesters remain peaceful in Pittsburgh streets after Rosfeld verdict – Tribune-Review

Passionate protesters remain peaceful in Pittsburgh streets after Rosfeld verdict - Tribune-Review
More than 300 protesters march through Oakland
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.

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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.

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“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.”

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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.

“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.”

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“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.

“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.”

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

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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.

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.

news Prosecutors faced uphill battle in Rosfeld case

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

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.

Hundreds March Through Oakland In Peaceful Protest Of Michael Rosfelds Acquittal

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 shooting, which was captured on a bystanders cell phone and circulated widely, occurred after Rosfeld pulled over a car in which Rose had been a passenger for a traffic stop. The car matched the description of a vehicle that had been involved in a drive-by shooting only minutes earlier. Upon being stopped, Rose and another teenager fled, and Rosfeld opened fire.

Antwon Roses family vows to pursue justice after acquittal of officer who fatally shot the teen, lawyer says

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.

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.”

Ppl are marching the streets through Pittsburgh a day after former E. Pgh police Officer Michael Rosfeld was found not guilty on all counts in the fatal shooting of 17-yr-old #AntwonRose II. "Black lives matter. I'm angry, I'm tired, & I'm hurt,"said Taylor Walters, in 1st photo. pic.twitter.com/dhW6lxdx00

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

Rosfeld was charged for shooting and killing 17-year-old Antwon Rose during a June 19 traffic stop. In the stop, Rosfeld pulled over an unlicensed taxi that had been involved in an earlier drive-by shooting, police said.

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.

Similar protests continued Saturday, with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporting that hundreds of demonstrators marched in the city, again blocking traffic and marching into restaurants to disrupt meals.

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 former officer, Michael Rosfeld, who was charged with homicide, was acquitted by a jury Friday afternoon, a decision that was made in less than four hours, according to The Associated Press.

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

Community members gathered this afternoon at Freedom Corner in the Hill District for a community solidarity service for Antwon Rose Sr., the father of Antwon Rose II. pic.twitter.com/AriG5GRQ4O

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

“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.”

Protests continued in Pittsburgh Saturday, the day after a former East Pittsburgh police officer was found not guilty in the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Antwon Rose II.

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Prosecutors argued the shooting of Rose was unjustified because he posed no threat to Rosfeld, but the former police officer ultimately was found not guilty.

Woodland Hills community grieves over Rosfeld verdict, looks to unite

Hundreds of peaceful protesters spilled into the streets of Downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland on Saturday, the day after former police Officer Michael Rosfeld was acquitted of homicide in the 2018 death of Antwon Rose II.

Rose, an unarmed passenger in the vehicle, fled the stop, and as he ran away, Rosfeld shot him in the back, arm and side of the face, according to The AP.

The protesters shouted for justice, encouraged people to vote and expressed frustration over the not-guilty verdict.

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)

The demonstrations started at the Hill District’s Freedom Corner with a rally at 2 p.m., just 12 hours after protesters trickled off the streets of East Liberty, where they had gathered after the verdict.

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.

Protests erupt in Pa. after cop cleared in shooting

Rose’s father, Antwon Rose Sr., addressed the crowd, thanking them for the constant support since the June 19 shooting of his son.

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.

“I don’t have a lot of words,” he said. “Because I’m still stuck — I’m really still stuck.”

“No father should have to endure what he’s experience right now,” Hammonds said. “This kind of pain that we’re experiencing — think about what he’s experiencing. We’re experiencing a piece of it, but he has to deal with it as a whole.”

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.

Hammonds, a speaker and activist, told the crowd of more than 100 that they must vote if they want change.

“I’m tired of it,” he said. “I’m tired of marching. I’m tired of chanting. We have to carry our pain to the polls.”

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.”

Protests erupt in Pittsburgh after cops acquittal in fatal shooting

“As was the case last night, it was passionate and peaceful,” Chris Togneri, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, said.

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.

State Rep. Ed Gainey, who had been in the streets of Downtown late Friday night with protesters after the jury announced their verdict, joined them Saturday.

“Today is a day that we all knew existed, but sometimes even when you know things exist, it doesn’t mean you want to see the reality of that,” Gainey, D-Lincoln-Lemington, said. “And the reality we felt last night is how a system called criminal justice shows value for the children of the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.”

From there, the protesters spilled into the streets, marching down Center Avenue toward PPG Paints Arena. They formed a large circle in intersections, chanting for justice.

For more than two hours, they wound through Downtown and parts of Uptown, singing and chanting, circling up in intersections and carrying signs.

Police on bicycles and in marked and unmarked cruisers kept ahead of the crowd, moving to each intersection before them to keep traffic away. The protests were peaceful, even when marchers wove their way through stopped traffic.

“What side are you on, my people, what side are you on?” they sang. “We on the freedom side.”

Early on, near PPG Paints Arena, the protesters paused and squared off with police lining the sidewalk.

Rose was shot and killed as he and another teen, Zaijuan Hester, ran from a felony traffic stop in East Pittsburgh. The car in which they’d been riding was stopped by Rosfeld because he thought it matched the description of the vehicle suspected in a drive-by shooting minutes earlier.

A jury of seven men and five women deliberated for less than four hours Friday before finding Rosfeld not guilty of homicide charges.

The Downtown march broke up shortly before 5 p.m. after protesters reached Market Square. Another planned protest began about 5:30 p.m. in Oakland. The group met at Schenley Plaza.

Protesters named three demands: That Pittsburgh police union president Robert Swartzwelder be fired; that District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. be fired; and that Allegheny County form a police review board.

Allegheny County Council has taken preliminary steps toward forming a police review board. Zappala issued a statement Friday night where he respectfully disagreed with the verdict. He is facing a primary challenge from Turahn Jenkins, the former chief deputy director in the Allegheny County Public Defender’s Office who announced his candidacy in the wake of the Rose shooting. Swartzwelder and the police union did not return requests for comment.

They marched from there, up Fifth Avenue and around Oakland, remaining peaceful but passionate. Designated marshals among the protesters reminded the group throughout the afternoon and evening not to antagonize police.

At one point, while the crowd was paused near Bigelow and Fifth in Oakland, someone threw a water bottle from the middle of the crowd. An organizer took to the bullhorn.

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, mguza@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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