Court Records reveal that a charge of criminal homicide has been filed against the East Pittsburgh Police Officer who shot and killed 17-year-old Antwon Rose Jr. Officer Michael Rosfeld was sworn in hours before he fatally shot the teen on June 19. The shooting was captured by witnesses on a cell phone video which went viral and prompted mass protests shutting down entire highways in the city including the police station itself.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">This cell phone video shows police killing 17 year-old Antwon Rose in East Pittsburgh yesterday. Antown was shot in the back as he ran, he was unarmed.<br><br>-Call the Allegheny County Police Department at (412) 473-1200 & demand justice for Antown Rose.<a href="https://t.co/Y46tIKuyRJ">pic.twitter.com/Y46tIKuyRJ</a></p>— Simar (@sahluwal) <a href="https://twitter.com/sahluwal/status/1009508968308170752?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 20, 2018</a></blockquote>
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Rosfeld pulled over a vehicle matching the description of one seen leaving the scene of a drive-by shooting in North Braddock. Rosfeld ordered the driver of the vehicle to get on the ground at gunpoint. The driver got out and lay on the ground and then the passenger in the front seat also got out. Rosfeld said that person turned his hand toward him and he observed something dark which he thought was a gun.
He immediately took cover behind his patrol car and fired his weapon and at the same moment a second passenger got out and ran. When investigators had Rosfeld go over his story again, he left out the part about seeing a gun. When they confronted him about the inconsistency in his report he stated that he did see something but did not know what it was. He also said he wasn't sure if the passenger who originally pointed his arm at him still had his arm out when he fired his gun.
District Attorney Stephen Zappala said Rose can be seen on video showing his hands before fleeing and no weapon was found on his person. Zappala also <a href="https://www.wpxi.com/news/top-stories/district-attorney-releases-new-surveillance-video-in-north-braddock-drive-by-shooting/777675816">released footage of the same car Rosfeld pulled over committing a drive by</a> minutes before the traffic stop.
"Based on that evidence, I find that Rosfeld’s actions were intentional and they certainly brought about the result he was looking to accomplish. He was not acting to prevent death or serious bodily injury. It is my position that he is not entitled to a justification charge to a jury as a defense. In as much as under Pennsylvania law, if you are effectuating an arrest, you have to show the person being arrested has committed a forcible felony. As I’ve said already Antwon Rose didn’t do anything in North Braddock other than being in that vehicle and you have to possess a weapon. Neither of those young men was in possession of a weapon. Or, you have to otherwise indicate that somebody is in a position to take human life and that is not the case here."
Related coverage: <a href="https://thegoldwater.com/news/29365-Pennsylvania-Hundreds-Of-Protesters-Shut-Down-Freeway-Over-Antwon-Rose-Police-Killing">Pennsylvania - Hundreds Of Protesters Shut Down Freeway Over Antwon Rose Police Killing</a>
The criminal complaint says the shooter in the North Braddock drive-by was in the back seat of the vehicle and was identified as 17-year-old Zaijuan Hester. Hester is facing several charges including attempted criminal homicide.
Zappala added, "[Hester] is the shooter in North Braddock. By all accounts, Mr. Rose never did anything in furtherance of any crimes in North Braddock." Rosfeld's attorney Pat Thomassey says he turned himself in Wednesday morning and has been released on $250,000 unsecured bond. Zappala says he objected to Rosfeld being released but he has been placed on house arrest until his trial.
"Reading the affidavit of probable cause, which is the facts that the police write to support the arrest warrant, quite frankly, I don’t see it as a murder case at all," Thomassey said. Rosfeld was only on duty in East Pittsburgh for three weeks and was formally sworn in 90 minutes before the fatal shooting. He previously worked as a police officer in Harmarville and Oakmont since 2011 as well as for the University of Pittsburgh Police Department where he was reportedly dismissed from duty.
Rosfeld made a mistake, he knew there was likely a gun in the vehicle and the fact that he took cover behind his car shows he was in fear. The car was just used in the commission of a violent felony and Rosfeld made a split second decision to shoot. Unfortunately, he also decided to lie about why he shot which has led to this charge of criminal homicide.
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[tw_tags] #AntwonRose #Pittsburgh #Philadelphia #Shooting #DriveBy #Felony #OfficerRosfeld [/tw_tags]