Antwon Rose Death Sparks Days Of Protest In Pittsburgh

A police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager on June 19th in East Pittsburgh.  His name was Antwon Rose, and he is being mourned by his family and friends.  Pictures of Antwon in better times are readily available on Twitter by those who are memorializing him.  And, as one might expect, that is not the full story.

Of course, Emmitt Till hadn’t been the likely gunman in a drive-by shooting minutes before his death, but… details.

Antwon Rose and his friend abandoned their car after being stopped by police.  The police conducted the stop because a drive-by shooting involving a car similar to theirs had occurred minutes before, in an area nearby.

From WPXI:

According to the Allegheny County Police Department, Rose got out of a vehicle that matched the description of a vehicle seen near a shooting that occurred shortly before 8:30 p.m. on Kirkpatrick Avenue in North Braddock.

The vehicle, which police said had damage from bullets to the back window, was stopped near Grandview Avenue and Howard Street.

An officer from the East Pittsburgh Police Department was handcuffing the driver when two males ran from the car, police said. One of those males was Rose.

Two handguns, one of which had an empty clip, were found in the car.  A video has been received by the police which shows the drive-by, but the police have stated that the video does not prove Antwon Rose committed the shooting.  Reports of gunshot residue found on Rose’s hands were rebutted by the police department as well; they did not state that residue was not there, but rather that the crime lab has not yet reported their results.

The story is being reported internationally, with little attention to the circumstances surrounding Rose’s stop. (Daily Mail)

Street protests have been occurring daily, with streets being shut down for hours.  That, in turn, led to an incident where a driver refused to stop for a mass of people in the street and continued along slowly while trying to get past a protest arranged outside of an ending Pirates game.  The driver is being sought, having illegally put protesters at risk of serious bodily injury by refusing to stop.  The police have not seen fit to seek charges against the many protesters caught on video rushing forward to attack the sides and rear of the car… also illegal.

This is a case where everyone was wrong.  The police officer, Michael Rosfeld, has provided no justification for shooting a fleeing suspect, nor does any seem to be likely to be forthcoming.  Rose, if not the shooter, by all evidence was present in the car during the time of an attempted murder that also endangered unrelated citizenry and chose to flee rather than discuss the incident with police.  The person driving the car endangered the lives of people.  The people who massed the car were displaying obvious threats of violence to the driver.  Those eulogizing Rose as an innocent child are giving cover to gang violence.

Rosfeld will lose his livelihood, and because of the poor judgment shown, he should.  He may go to jail in exchange for killing a fleeing suspect.  If he does not, he will have nonetheless demonstrated an inability to competently handle a difficult, stressful situation. He is reportedly getting support from his family and other law enforcement, which is reasonable; there is no indication as yet that Rosfeld has any history of improper behavior.  Law enforcement, however, is held to high standards because of their capacaity to lawfully do harm.  Rosfeld violated those standards.  (WTAE)

Had Rosfeld not shot Rose, the police would still have the driver in custody from the drive-by.  The guns would be in police possession, and the police would be working on identifying the two others in the car with him.  After being identified and arrested, they would be sent to prison for comparatively small sentences, as the drive-by victim survived and it would have been difficult to positively identify which of the two car passengers had fired the shots.

This leads to reactions from state political leaders:

Describing Antwon Rose as “young, talented” instead of “a criminal engaging in gang violence” is problematic.  Rose, at some point, was merely a “young, talented” man.  Engaging in activities that put him at risk directly led to his death, however; and even if he were not dead, he would be on a path toward prison.

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.