Officer Acquitted For Shooting Antwon Rose, Gunman Opens Fire On Lawyer's Office
Pittsburgh, PA - A jury determined Friday that former East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld was not guilty of all charges stemming from the fatal officer-involved shooting of Antwon Rose II.
The announcement was made at 9:03 p.m. after just four hours of deliberations, according to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The shooting happened June 19 as then-officer Michael Rosfeld located a vehicle matching the description of a car that was involved in a drive-by shooting.
The gold Chevrolet Cruze had a shattered rear window and was riddled with bullet holes, according to CNN.
Suspects in the vehicle were reported to have fired 10-12 shots during the drive-by shooting just 20 minutes earlier.
After Officer Rosfeld stopped the vehicle, 17-year-old Rose and 17-year-old Zaijuan Hester, both passengers, jumped out of the car and started to run.
The officer said that one of the suspects had a dark object which he perceived as a gun, but he wasn't sure. He responded by firing three shots in their direction in less than 1 second.
Rose was fatally hit by Officer Rosfeld's bullets.
The investigation determined that Rose did not have a gun on him when he was shot, but he had gunshot residue on his hands, an empty magazine in his pocket, and a stolen gun was located under his seat in the car. The stolen gun was linked to numerous other crimes in the area.
Witnesses said that Officer Rosfeld was extremely distraught after the shooting.
The incident kicked off mass protests with accusations of racism because Officer Rosfield is white, and Rose was black.
Sixty to 80 protesters, some masked, surrounded Officer Rosfeld's home after his identity was released.
After more protests, the officer was charged with first-degree murder, third-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, and he was placed on unpaid leave.
The East Pittsburgh Police Department was then completely dissolved under community pressure, which resulted in Officer Rosfeld losing his job along with other officers.
“We don’t want any more children being killed by police officers,” a resident told the council in August.
The announcement about the fate of the department came just a month after approximately 50 residents showed up at another council meeting and demanded that that the mayor and five borough council members resign and referred to them as the KKK, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.
Wilkinsburg Council Vice President Vanessa McCarthy-Johnson chastised the East Pittsburgh Police Department for not having a black chief and said they needed to implement racial bias training.
"This would never happen in Wilkinsburg," McCarthy-Johnson boasted before the decision to dissolve the department was made.
Following Rosfeld's acquittal, the Rose family attorney responded that it's not acceptable for a police officer to shoot somebody in the back if they are a felony suspect and intend to harm others, according to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“The charges the jury received today and deliberated on made it seem OK to shoot an unarmed fleeing suspect in the back.”
The law literally says that police officers can shoot fleeing felony suspects who pose a serious risk to others.
Hours after the acquittal, a gunman opened fire at the office of Rosfeld's attorney, according to WKBN. Several bullet holes were found in the building. Nobody was injured in the shooting.