The trial against East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfield is over after a jury has found him not guilty on all charges for the shooting death of 17-year-old Antwon Rose, Jr. On June 19, 2018, there was a drive-by shooting around 8:30 p.m. Police say that the car described in the drive-by was similar to the vehicle they saw Rose and two of his friends occupying. Police also claim that they stopped the vehicle and noticed that there were bullet holes in it, so they ordered everyone out of the car.
As the driver of the vehicle was being handcuffed, Rose and another person took off running from the scene. Rosfield shot at the fleeing teens and hit Rose three times in the back. The incident was captured on film by a nearby witness. Rose was taken to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. The officer said he shot at the two young men because he thought he saw a gun.
“I’m not going to wait to be attacked,” Rosfield said when he took the stand during his trial. “I meant to fire until the threat against me had been ended, whether it be if I missed and he surrenders, stops, gets on the ground. I just wanted to end the threat to me.” The shooting was met by protests and criticisms regarding the use of excessive force by officers as many didn’t believe that Rose posed a threat as he was both unarmed and was running away from the scene.
Rosfield was investigated and charged with criminal homicide and would have been sentenced to life in prison if convicted. A jury took nearly four hours to deliberate before acquitting him of all charges. The Rose family’s lawyer, Lee Merritt, said that they intend on fighting the ruling. “It will have to be challenged in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. It will have to continue to be challenged on a federal level,” he said.