Hundreds gathered Monday to pay their respects at the funeral service of 17-year-old Antwon Rose Jr., a Black teenager who was shot and killed by an East Pittsburgh police officer during a traffic stop last week.
The funeral, held at Woodland Hills Intermediate School, where Rose was once a student, was preceded by days of mass protests throughout the Pittsburgh area, as activists demand justice for Rose’s death.
— Katie Blackley (@kate_blackley) June 25, 2018
Rose was riding in a car with two other individuals when they were pulled over by police last Tuesday. Cops said the vehicle matched the description of another car that was involved in a drive-by shooting in the North Braddock neighborhood minutes earlier. They found two guns on the floor of the car in which Rose was riding. As police took the driver of the car into custody, Rose and the other occupant fled the scene. Rose was unarmed when Officer Michael Rosfeld shot him in the back three times. Rose’s death was ruled a homicide, the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office said.
“He murdered my son in cold blood,” Rose’s mother Michelle Kenney told ABC’s Good Morning America Monday morning. “If he has a son, I pray his heart never has to hurt the way mine does.”
Cell phone video of the incident continues to raise questions as to why Rosfeld shot at Rose, who did not appear to pose any immediate danger to the police officers as he ran away.
“It was like he was taking target practice on this young man’s back. He didn’t flinch, he didn’t say stop running, he didn’t say anything,” said the witness who posted the video to Facebook, according to ABC.
— Antonella Crescimbeni (@AntonellaCres) June 25, 2018
The attorney for Rose’s family, Lee Merritt, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he will press for criminal charges against Rosfeld, who was sworn in as a police officer just hours before he shot Rose. According to the Post-Gazette, Rosfeld previously worked as a police officer for the University of Pittsburgh but resigned in January after discrepancies were found between his sworn statement and evidence in an arrest. He was hired by the East Pittsburgh Police Department last month.
Hundreds of family, friends, and community members attended a visitation for Rose at a funeral home in Homestead Sunday evening and, although no protests were planned, tensions were high.
“Obviously, this is pretty horrible overall not only for the family but the city,” Malik Thomas, 19, told the Post-Gazette. “As far as the police are concerned, they need to retrain everyone — everyone.”
Obituary at funeral for #AntwonRose: the teen was a “beautiful, bright, charming and generous person” who excelled academically and loved basketball, surfing, skating @905wesa pic.twitter.com/fuPzNj6uKf
— An-Li Herring (@anliherring) June 25, 2018
On Monday, the Pittsburgh Black Elected Officials Coalition (PBEOC) released a statement urging Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala to “bring charges against Officer Rosfeld.”
“We are hurting, and our community is hurting,” the statement said. “Rosfeld took the judicial system into his own hands when he ended Antwon’s life.”
Activists plan to resume protests on Tuesday.