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East Pittsburgh Police Officer Charged With Homicide In Shooting Of Antwon Rose text.npr.org

Submitted by sudo in ACAB

An East Pittsburgh police officer has been charged with one count of criminal homicide over last week's shooting death of a 17-year-old who was fleeing a traffic stop, after days of angry protests.

Michael Rosfeld, 30, was arrested and charged Wednesday morning, according to court documents. He was then released after posting $250,000 bail.

Rosfeld, who was reportedly officially sworn into the job with the East Pittsburgh Police Department just hours earlier, has been on administrative leave since the June 19 shooting.

"It's an intentional act, and it's done recklessly," Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. said at a news conference Wednesday. "There is not justification for it."

Antwon Rose Jr. was shot three times as he ran from the car that police had just pulled over in the Pittsburgh suburb.

Police said Rose was unarmed but two guns were recovered from the car he was riding in, which was suspected to have been involved in an earlier shooting.

An empty gun clip was later found in Rose's pocket, according to police.

A witness video of the incident has been viewed around 150,000 times on Facebook, and shows Rose along with a second passenger running from police as three shots ring out. Rose is seen collapsing.

Zappala said Rose was shot in the face, the elbow and the back.

Of the back wound, Zappala said, "That's the fatal shot," adding that the "nine millimeter slug matches Rosfeld's service weapon," Zappala said.

Police said the Chevrolet Cruze was pulled over because it matched the description of a vehicle involved in a drive-by shooting that left a 22-year-old with "grazing" wound just minutes earlier in nearby North Braddock Borough.

Of the car Rose was riding in, Zappala said a nine millimeter stolen weapon was found under the front seat and a stolen 40 caliber — used in the earlier shooting — was also found under the seat.

And yet, according to Zappala, the presence of the weapons does not exonerate Rosfeld.

"He specifically says that he didn't see a weapon," Zappala said. "That's significant."

"Under Pennsylvania law, if you are effectuating an arrest, you have to show the person being arrested has committed a forcible felony," Zappala said. "Antwon Rose didn't do anything in North Braddock other than be in that vehicle."

Rosfeld has given a statement to police, but has not spoken publicly about the incident.

Of how Rosfeld feels after-the-fact, "I know that he was remorseful," Zappala said.

A police affidavit says video shows a passenger in the back wearing a dark shirt, firing a weapon from an open window. They do not suspect Rose, who was seated in the front seat, of firing any shots.

The other back-seat passenger, later identified as Zaijuan Hester, was arrested on Monday and charged Wednesday with attempted homicide.

It is significant that Hester is suspected of firing the weapon, not Rose, Zappala said because "if you're trying to effectuate an arrest, then what you have to show is ... there was a forcible felony. Shooting at somebody in North Braddock could be considered a forcible felony, but it was committed by .. Hester, not by Antwon." Zappala added that Rosfeld never faced serious bodily injury , which might also have justified use of force.

The driver had been detained last Tuesday but was released after questioning without being charged, police said.

"The best we can tell he is like an Uber driver," Zappala said. "He was very forthcoming."

In the week since he died, hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets of the Pittsburgh area demanding the Allegheny County District Attorney file charges against Rosfeld.

Lee Merritt, who represents the Rose family, said Wednesday that while they are glad Rosfeld was arrested and charged, action should have been taken sooner.

"When that video first went viral of Antwon Rose being shot in the back three times — at that time, there was no justification; an arrest warrant should have been issued immediately," Merritt said, according to audio released by ABC.

"The family views the homicide charge with guarded optimism," he added. "We believe it's a step in the right direction but we understand that there's gonna be a long road to a conviction and sentencing."

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Rosfeld left his last job at the University of Pittsburgh after discrepancies were found between his sworn statement and evidence in a December arrest.

The newspaper reports The East Pittsburgh Police Department then hired Rosfeld in May.

Hundreds of mourners gathered for Rose's funeral service Monday at Pittsburgh's Woodland Hills Intermediate School, reports WESA.

The service program told of his love of basketball, skating and surfing. It described him as a good student.

And it included a poem Rose had written, entitled: "I Am Not What You Think!" It reads in part:

"I see mothers bury their sons, I want my mom to never feel that pain, I AM CONFUSED AND AFRAID, I understand people believe I'm just a statistic, I say to them I'm different."

Rose was black. His death is the latest in a string of high-profile police shootings involving unarmed black men, notably in Ferguson, Mo., in Sacramento, Calif., and in Baton Rouge, La.

Ahead of Rose's wake on Sunday, his mother Michelle Kenney, spoke to ABC News about the officer who shot her son.

"He murdered my son in cold blood," Kenney said, "If he has a son, I pray his heart never has to hurt the way mine does."

A preliminary hearing in Rosfeld's case is scheduled for July 6.

Comments

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edmund_the_destroyer wrote

Holy ****, the fact that he was even charged is a miracle. Hooray.

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GrimWillow wrote

Probably because he's so new. Once you got your roots in the department, the blue shield is there to stop anyone from punishing their murderers.

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GrimWillow wrote (edited )

Rose was black. His death is the latest in a string of high-profile police shootings involving unarmed black men

That's one long fucking string. You look at media from the 70's and 60's and it's all the same stuff "unarmed black man shot by police" over and over. That string unravels all the way back to 16th century Africa and beyond.