Supporters of Antwon Rose II, leave the Allegheny County Courthouse after hearing the verdict of not guilty on all charges for Michael Rosfeld, a former police officer in East Pittsburgh, Pa., Friday, March 22, 2019. Former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld was indicted for manslaughter for the shooting of Antwon Rose II in the back last June. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
PITTSBURGH – Shots were fired overnight from the desk of the lawyer for a white police officer acquitted in the killing of an unarmed black teenager, and several hundred people gathered to protest on Saturday about the decision, which left Pittsburgh is a city on the edge.
The police put officers on 12-hour shifts until further notice.
The decision of the jury late Friday in the deadly shooting of 17-year-old Antwon Rose II angry and his family and touched off a night-time demonstration by about 100 people. It was followed by another protest on Saturday afternoon on a crossroads called Freedom Corner in the city’s Hill District neighborhood, the historic center of black cultural life in Pittsburgh.
A man held a sign with the names of black men killed by police in the US
“It is very painful to see what happened, to sit there and go,” Rose’s father, Antwon Rose, Sr., told the crowd. “I just don’t want it to happen in our city no more. It happens like every other day. We still have more to do in our community, so they have more things to do.”
The approach of the “young brothers,” the teen’s father said: “Streets is not. Read books, man. Do whatever you have to do, but leave these streets alone. It is not worth it.”
The mostly white crowd then began marching in the direction of the center of Pittsburgh.
During the night, five to eight shots were fired in the building where the lawyer, Patrick Thomassey, works with the police in Monroeville in the near said. The police said that they had been staking out the place as a precaution, when she left to answer another call around midnight, and that was when the gunfire broke out. No one was injured.
Former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld was indicted for manslaughter for the shooting of Pink as the teen ran away from the traffic stop last June. Rosfeld walked from the courtroom a free man Friday, after telling the jury that he thought that Rose or any other suspect had a gun on him and that he fired to protect himself and the community.
“I hope that man never sleeps at night,” Rose’s mother, Michelle Kenney, said of Rosfeld, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I hope he gets as much sleep as I do, that is nothing.”
The decision to let Rose’s family to pursue the federal civil rights lawsuit that she filed against Rosfeld and East Pittsburgh, a small town of about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from the center of Pittsburgh, where the trial was held.
Rose died — one of the many high-profile deaths of black men and teenagers by white officers in recent years — spurred angry protests in the Pittsburgh area last year. Immediately after the verdict, the scores of the protesters pro-intersections and has two hotels, the chanting of “17” for Rose’s age. No arrests have been made.
Rose was riding in an illegal taxi that had been involved in a drive-by shooting minutes earlier, when Rosfeld pulled the car over and shot the teenager in the back, arm and side of the face. Nor Rose, nor any other teenager in the taxi was with a weapon when the officer opened fire, but two weapons were later found in the vehicle.
The 12-person jury — including three black members saw the video of the fatal confrontation. The jury took less than four hours to reach a verdict.
Thomassey, the attorney, told reporters that Rosfeld is “a good man. He said to me many times, ” Patrick, this has nothing to do with the kid’s color. I did what I was trained to do.'” Thomassey said that he hopes that the city remains calm, and “everyone takes a deep breath and go on with their lives.”
Pittsburgh was in the spotlight less than five months ago, when a gunman ranting about Jews killed 11 people at a synagogue.
Rosfeld had worked for the East Pittsburgh Police Department only a few weeks and was sworn in just a few hours before the shooting.
Attorney Jonathan Fodi argued that the video showed that there was no danger for the driver. But a defense expert testified Rosfeld was in his rights to use lethal force to stop suspects he thought had been involved in a shooting.
The prosecutors had their own use-of-force-expert — a decision of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania questioned. But Mike Manko, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, said prosecutors were convinced that they had what they needed to make their case.
Shortly before the traffic stop, another person in the taxi,Zaijuan Hester, a window rolled down and shot at two people on the street, hitting one in the abdomen. Hester, 18, pleaded guilty last week to aggravated assault and firearms violations. He said that he was not Rose, so did the shooting.
Prosecutors had brought Rosfeld with an open count of murder, meaning the jury had the option of convicting him of murder or manslaughter.
Associated Press writers Michael Rubinkam in northeastern Pennsylvania, and Keith Srakocic in Pittsburgh contributed to this story.