Update (June 27, 2018): The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office charged East Pittsburgh Police officer Michael Rosfeld with criminal homicide in Antwon Rose Jr.’s death. His bail was set for $250,000 by a magisterial district judge. The DA’s office said in a statement that they believe setting bail was “improper” because statute indicates that anyone charged with a crime that could result in life in prison is not entitled to bail. However, DA spokesman Mike Manko said the office does “not plan on contesting it at this time.” PublicSource reporter Jeffrey Benzing live-tweeted the DA’s press conference on Wednesday morning.
The Allegheny County Police Department has also charged 17-year-old Zaijuan Shawntez Hester in connection with the North Braddock shooting. Hester is believed to be the third person in the vehicle other than Rose and the driver. Police charged Hester with aggravated assault, possession of firearm by a minor, receiving stolen property, persons not to possess firearms and criminal attempt.
“Say his name.”
“Antwon Rose Jr.”
Chanting and waving signs, hundreds of people rallied outside the Allegheny County Courthouse in Downtown Pittsburgh on Thursday to protest the killing of unarmed black teenager Antwon Rose Jr. by a police officer.
Rose, a 17-year-old senior at Woodland Hills High School, was fatally shot by an officer of the East Pittsburgh Police Department the evening of Tuesday, June 19. On Thursday afternoon, the Allegheny County Police Department identified Michael Rosfeld as the officer who killed Rose.
Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said in a press conference on Wednesday that around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, police received reports of a shooting in North Braddock. He said the victim was shot from a passing vehicle, which witnesses described as a silver Chevy Cruze. At 8:40 p.m., police stopped a silver Chevy Cruze in the adjacent borough of East Pittsburgh, ordering the driver — who was later questioned and released — to leave the car and get on the ground. Two guns were found in the car. Two passengers — Rose and another person who has not been found — exited the car and started running away, McDonough said.
What happened next was caught on a graphic video posted to social media: East Pittsburgh officer Michael Rosfeld fired his gun, striking Rose three times. Rose was then transported to McKeesport Hospital, McDonough said, where he was pronounced dead at 9:19 p.m. on Tuesday.
In a statement on Thursday, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald called for a “thorough, swift and transparent review and investigation” of Rose’s death.
“Regardless of the outcome, we as a community need to find a way to come together,” he said. “It won’t be easy to re-establish trust and reunite our community, but we are strongest when we work together and as a community, we can heal together, too.”
State Reps. Paul Costa, Austin Davis, Ed Gainey and Jake Wheatley, who each represent parts of Allegheny County, issued a joint statement on Thursday:
“It is our hope that the district attorney and the Allegheny County Police Department conduct a thorough and expeditious investigation of what occurred between Antwon and the police officer in a way that is transparent and honest, in order to keep a level of trust between the community and police,” they wrote.
Protesters on Thursday called for Allegheny County District Attorney, Stephen Zappala, to resign, saying they don’t trust him to bring justice to Rose’s death.
Brandi Fisher, president and CEO of the Alliance for Police Accountability; Joel Sansone, a local attorney who has represented victims of police brutality in court; and Summer Lee, a Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania’s 34th House District, were among those who spoke at the rally. Speakers asked for empathy and justice for Rose and other victims of police violence and reminded attendees to vote and run for office.
Photos by Maranie Rae Staab for PublicSource.
Brandi Fisher of Pittsburgh’s Alliance for Police Accountability says Antwon Rose’s killing hurts. “This is real,” she says. pic.twitter.com/YBJ3dhpf59
— J. Dale Shoemaker (@JDale_Shoemaker) June 21, 2018
This young person just read a poem that Antwon Rose wrote, then asks for a moment of silence. Antwon wrote about growing up confused and afraid, and how he didn’t want to just be a statistic. pic.twitter.com/TK3r49xDZR
— J. Dale Shoemaker (@JDale_Shoemaker) June 21, 2018
Maranie Rae Staab is a photographer and journalist based in Pittsburgh, Pa. She can be reached at email@example.com.
J. Dale Shoemaker is PublicSource’s government and data reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-515-0069. You can follow him on Twitter @JDale_Shoemaker. He can be reached securely at PGP: bit.ly/2ig07qL.
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