antwon rose jr.
Date: June 19, 2018
Officer: Michael Rosfeld
Charged: Yes, criminal homicide
Antwon Rose Jr. was in the passenger seat of a car in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on June 19, 2018, when the passenger in the back seat of the car started shooting out of the window, marking the car as a vehicle in a drive-by. Rose’s relation to the shooter, Zaijuan Hester, and why he was in the car is unknown. The car was pulled over by Officer Michael Rosfeld, and he ordered the driver to get out of the car. Eyewitness Debra Jones, who lived in the neighboring house to the scene, said Rosfeld talked to the driver “pretty rough.” Rosfeld ordered the passengers to get out of the car with their hands up, then Rose and Hester got out of the car and began running. An eyewitness video taken by Lashaun Livingston shows Rose less than 50 feet away from Rosfeld when the officer fired three shots at Rose, immediately sending him to the ground. She said that she started recording the video before the shooting because she heard an angry tone in Rosfeld’s voice, which she found concerning. She said, “That type of tone frightened me, myself… An angry tone — harsh. It was more so angry — that he was mad at someone or something. I had a bad feeling.” Jones says that Rose was then handcuffed, and another officer performed CPR on him while Rosfeld was down the block talking to other officers. She said “He was red and very upset, crying.” Rose was pronounced dead at the hospital. He was 17 years old.
Officer Michael Rosfeld was charged with criminal homicide, but was released on $250,000 bail with an ankle monitor and placed on house arrest. His trial started on March 19, 2019, and his defense attorney argued that the shooting was justified. District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. contended that the officer shouldn’t have opened fire on Rose because he was running away from the officer. The forensic pathologist’s testimony said that Rose was shot in the face, elbow, and back, but the shot to the back was the fatal shot. He said that it “perforated his lower right lung, his aorta, and right ventricle.” A medical examiner testified to finding trace amounts of gunshot residue on Rose’s hand, adding that it doesn’t necessarily mean Rose fired the gun. The residue could have come from Hester firing nine shots out the back of the car, or it could have come from Rosfeld’s gun. Civil Rights attorney S. Lee Merritt said, “Unfortunately, I’ve been a part of cases where the victims have gunshot residue after they’ve been shot by a police officer. It makes sense that someone is shot multiple times would have residue on them.” John Leach was another neighbor to the scene who was called to testify. He said the officer repeatedly said, “I don’t know why I shot him, I don’t know why I fired, I don’t know why I shot.” The trial lasted for four days, and Rosfeld was acquitted on all charges. Merritt said that he’s hoping to take the case to the federal courts on a civil rights suit.
Bradbury, S., Reed Ward, P., & Wimbley, L. (2019, March 19). ROSFELD TRIAL UPDATES: Day One ends with testimony from two eyewitnesses to shooting. Retrieved from https://www.post-gazette.com/news/crime-courts/2019/03/19/east-pittsburgh-officer-michael-rosfeld-homicide-trial-police-shooting-Antwon-Rose-rankin-updates/stories/201903190080
Iannotti, R. (2019, March 20). Michael Rosfeld Trial: Medical Examiner's Office Found Gunshot Residue On Antwon Rose's Hand. Retrieved from https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2019/03/20/michael-rosfeld-trial-medical-examiners-office-found-gunshot-residue-on-antwon-roses-hand/
KDKA, & Associated Press. (2019, March 22). Former East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld Found Not Guilty In Antwon Rose Shooting. Retrieved from https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2019/03/22/michael-rosfeld-trial-antwon-rose-shooting-not-guilty/
McKinney, M. (2018, July 16). Antwon Rose II told friends he was getting out of Rankin. He never got the chance. Retrieved from http://www.post-gazette.com/news/crime-courts/2018/07/16/antwon-rose-pittsburgh-shooting-two-lives-hawkins-village-michael-rosfeld-police/stories/201807140057