JURY REMINDS BLACKS: IN A CORPORATE POLICE STATE YOU CAN BE EXECUTED ANYTIME, ANYPLACE. From [HERE] and [HERE] The mother of an unarmed black teenager fatally shot by a white police officer as he fled a traffic stop has expressed her anger and devastation over a jury’s decision to acquit the officer.
Former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld was charged with homicide for shooting Antwon Rose II last June in one of the many high-profile killings of black people by white police officers.
The teenager was a passenger in a car that had been pulled over because it matched the description of a vehicle that fled an earlier shooting in which a 22-year-old man was wounded, the Allegheny County Police Department said in a statement.
A video that recorded the fatal shooting and was posted on Facebook shows two people running from police vehicles as three shots are fired. One of the people, later identified as the 17-year-old, falls to the ground after getting shot in the back.
“Why are they shooting at him?” the woman recording the video says. “All they did was run and they’re shooting at them!”
Mr. Rosfeld shot Antwon, a passenger, three times — in his back, face and elbow.
Prosecutors say Mr. Rosfeld, 30, gave inconsistent statements about the shooting, including whether he thought Antwon had a gun.
On Thursday, Mr. Rosfeld testified in his own defense for 90 minutes. “It happened very quickly,” he said. “My intent was to end the threat that was made against me.”
He said on the stand that he thought he saw one of the two teenagers who ran from the car point a gun at him. He said he did not know which teenager made the motion.
The video, led to weeks of unrest and angry protests in the Pittsburgh last year, including a late-night march that shut down a major motorway.
On Friday, a panel of seven men and five women, including three black jurors, reached their verdict after less than four hours of deliberations.
The Allegheny County Police Department said that two firearms were found on the floor of the car. However, police found the guns after the shooting was over. The location of the guns in the car or proximity to the passengers was not disclosed. When asked if the teenager was found with a weapon on his person, Coleman McDonough, the department’s superintendent, said he was not. No police saw him with a gun at any time.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Wednesday quoted Mayor Louis Payne of East Pittsburgh as saying that the officer who shot Antwon was hired in mid-May and had been formally sworn in hours before the shooting.
S. Lee Merritt, a lawyer for Antwon’s family, condemned the verdict in a tweet. “A Pennsylvania jury just concluded shooting an unarmed black child in the back as he ran away is not Murder, it’s not even criminal,” he wrote. “I will never be able to make peace with that. Everything has to change.” The family’s legal team has filed a federal lawsuit in the matter.
Merritt said: “We know that he was not armed at the time he was shot down, that he posed no immediate threat to anyone, and that, significantly, the driver of the vehicle he occupied was released from police custody.”
Late Friday night, a few dozen protesters marched in Pittsburgh, chanting, “Three shots in the back, how do you justify that?”
Reacting to the verdict, Rose’s mother, Michelle Kenney, said of Mr Rosfeld: “I hope that man never sleeps at night. I hope he gets as much sleep as I do, which is none.”
Rose, 17, had been riding in the front seat of an unlicensed cab when Zaijuan Hester, in the back, rolled down a window and shot at two men on the street.
A few minutes later Mr Rosfeld pulled the car over and shot Rose in the back, arm, and the side of the face as he ran away.
He told the court he thought Rose or another suspect had a gun pointed at him.
Neither teen was holding one when Mr Rosfeld opened fire, though two semi-automatic handguns were later found in the car.
Antwon’s family’s lawyer had pushed for a murder conviction, saying it had been “pretty obvious” the teenager posed no threat to the police officer, who had only been sworn in to the police department hours prior to the fatal shooting.
Fred Rabner told the jury: “Make no mistake, there is nothing reasonable or appropriate about the manner Officer Rosfeld took Antwon’s life.”
Defence lawyer Patrick Thomassey told reporters Mr Rosfeld was “a good man” and the case had “nothing to do with the kid’s colour”.
Prosecutors claimed the new recruit gave inconsistent statements about the shooting, including whether he thought Rose was armed.
During the four-day trial witness John Leach told the jury he heard Mr Rosfeld crying and hyperventilating after the shooting and repeatedly saying: ‘I don’t know why I shot him. I don’t know why I fired.’
However, a defence expert testified Mr Rosfeld was justified in using lethal force to protect himself and the community if he thought a suspect had just been involved in a shooting.
In his closing argument assistant district attorney Jonathan Fodi declared Mr Rosfeld had acted as “judge, jury and executioner,” and the video evidence showed “there was no threat” to the officer.
Rose’s mother added she was unsurprised by the verdict: “It isn’t what I hoped for, but it’s what I expected.
Her family will now pursue the federal civil rights lawsuit they filed last August against Mr Rosfeld and East Pittsburgh police.