Another police officer has gotten away with killing an unarmed Black teenager.
Just hours ago, east Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld was cleared of all charges in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Antwon Rose II.
The 30-year-old police officer was charged with a criminal homicide charge, which included murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. He was facing life in prison and found not guilty on all charges. It was three days of testimony and there were reportedly three African-Americans on the jury.
CNN.com reports, S. Lee Merrit, who is representing the Rose family, said in a statement, While the family of Antwon Rose is devastated that former officer Michael Rosfeld was acquitted today, they are grateful for the support of the community and from many around the country.”
He also called the verdict “very disappointing for this family” and “Antwon Rose was shot in his back, which killed him. He was unarmed, and he did not pose a threat to the officer or to the community, and the verdict today says that is OK, that is acceptable behavior from a police officer.”
Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. said in a statement, “While I respectfully disagree with their verdict, it is the people of this commonwealth who decide guilty or not guilty and they have spoken to this matter. In the interest of justice, we must continue to do our job of bringing charges in situations where charges are appropriate, regardless of the role an individual holds in the community.”
In case you missed it, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Rosfeld was employed by the University of Pittsburgh in 2012 and “suspended in December 2017, two days after he arrested three men at the Garage Door Saloon on Atwood Street in Oakland. There was a scuffle at the bar the night of Dec. 9, and Officer Rosfeld arrived and charged Jacob Schilling, Timothy Riley and Daniel Humphrey with simple assault, defiant trespass, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness.”
All of the charges were dropped. District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. claimed the charges were withdrawn because the video evidence wasn’t sufficient. However, “the owner of the Garage Door Bar alleged that the charges were withdrawn at the behest of Mr. Humphrey’s mother, Kathy Humphrey, the university’s senior vice chancellor for engagement and secretary of the board of trustees.”
If Rosfeld had been properly punished, he arguably would not have became a police officer for the city of Pittsburgh.
On June 19, just hours after he was sworn in as an officer, Rosfeld fatally shot Rose. During a traffic stop, officers, including Rosfeld, claimed they were investigating a nearby shooting. The driver, Rose and one other person were in the car. The driver was arrested. The other passenger escaped, but was arrested on June 26. Rose allegedly ran and was shot in the back three times. As for the nearby shooting to which officers were responding, investigators confirmed Rose was not involved in the incident.
One witness said “he was on the front porch when Rosfeld fired three bullets into 17-year-old Anton Rose II. ” according to NBC News.
The witness claimed he saw the Rosfield “standing on the sidewalk, panicking.” He alleges the officer said, “I don’t know why I shot him. I don’t know why I fired.”
Our condolences go out to Antwon Rose’s family.