EAST PITTSBURGH, Pa. – A white police officer was charged Wednesday with murder in the shooting of an unarmed black teenager who was hit in the back during the flight, a traffic, stop, death, which has led to daily protests around Pittsburgh.
Prosecutors cited officer Michael Rosfeld inconsistent statements about whether he saw a pistol in the toe of the hand.
The East Pittsburgh officer first told the investigators that the teen turned his hand to him, when he ran from the car and the officer “saw something dark, he was seen as a gun,” according to the indictment.
During a second recap of last week’s shooting, Rosfeld told investigators he saw a gun and he was not sure whether the teen, his arm pointed at him when he fired at 17-year-old Antwon Rose, Jr.
The 30-year-old officer had been sworn in only a few hours before the June 19 shooting after working with the police for a few weeks. He turned, and was released on $ 250,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court July 6.
Criminal homicide is a broad category includes manslaughter and murder. Pennsylvania prosecutors typically specify what subsection of manslaughter they will pursue later in the case.
Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala said his office planned to ask the jury to consider the highest cost of the first-degree murder. He argued against the release of Rosfeld on bail.
“You do not shoot someone in the back if they are not a threat to you,” Zappala said.
The car was in were held on suspicion of involvement in a drive-by shooting. But researchers determined that Rose had had done nothing “, except for in the car,” he said.
Zappala said witnesses described Rose with his hands for the shooting, stressing that he had no weapon.
A lawyer of Rose’s family said that family members had “guarded optimism” about the indictment filed against the officer. A funeral for the teen was held Monday.
“The family will settle for nothing less than a conviction and appropriate sentencing,” attorney Lee Merritt said.
Rose was shot three times — in the right side of his face, in the elbow and the fatal shot on his back, those affected are the lungs and the heart.
Rosfeld pulled over the car in which Rose was a passenger about 15 minutes after reports of a drive-by shooting in nearby North Braddock. In that attack, a 22-year-old man was shot in the abdomen and was treated and released from the hospital.
A witness described a car of that shoot as matching the one Rose was in. A bystander from a nearby home recorded video of a portion of the stop and the shooting.
If Rosfeld took the driver of the car in custody, the passenger doors can be seen opening and Rose and another teenager can be seen running from the car. The officer will then shoot three photos.
Rosfeld has been on administrative leave since the shooting.
Two guns were found in the car, and an empty pistol magazine was found in Rose’s pocket, investigators said.
According to the complaint, the driver of the car as an illegal taxi driver, said he heard shots from the rear of the vehicle, when the second toe was sitting. He said Rose was sitting in the front and not fire shots during the earlier recording.
The indictment against Rosfeld comes a day after the authorities arrested the second toe. That teen was identified Wednesday as Zaijuan Hester, who was charged with aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a minor and other crimes in connection with the drive-by attack.
Rosfeld, of the suburbs of Penn Hills, had worked at several other police forces, including the force on the University of Pittsburgh, during the last seven years.
Associated Press Writer Claudia Lauer in Philadelphia contributed to this report.