CP photo by Jared Wickerham
Allegheny County district attorney Stephen Zappala announced Wednesday that criminal homicide charges are being filed against Michael Rosfeld, the East Pittsburgh police officer who shot and killed Antwon Rose
Zappala said at a news conference that Rose, a 17-year-old from Rankin, was sitting in the front passenger seat of a car involved in a drive-by shooting in North Braddock on June 19. Zappala said video evidence shows shots fired
out of the back seat of that car, and the shooter was wearing a dark shirt.
Rose was wearing a white shirt.
“By all accounts, Mr. Rose didn't do anything resembling any crimes,” said Zappala.
added that eyewitness accounts and a video posted to Facebook indicated that when the car was pulled over by East Pittsburgh police 13 minutes later, Rose exited the vehicle, quickly showed officer Rosfeld his hands and then ran. Rosfeld then shot at Rose three times, killing him.
“I find Rosfeld’s actions to be intentional,” said Zappala.
Zappala said that under Pennsylvania law, an officer would need evidence someone committed a felony, was in possession of a weapon, or could prove that person was a physical threat.
In the the criminal complaint filed in this case, Rosfeld told Allegheny County detectives that he didn’t see Rose holding a gun before firing at him.
Zappala was also critical of the East Pittsburgh’s police lack of protocol. He asked East Pittsburgh police officials about policies to address confrontations like the one with Rose. Zappala said he was told “they don't have any policies.”
This week, City Paper
examined problems pertaining to municipal police departments
Lee Merritt, the attorney for the Rose family, said the family was pleased with the charges, and are hopeful it will result in a conviction of Rosfeld.
“The family views the indictment with guarded optimism,” said Merritt in a statement. “We realize that conviction is a long road ahead and it will require our continued advocacy on behalf of Antwon.”