A Pennsylvania police officer accused of fatally shooting an unarmed black teen hours after being sworn into the East Pittsburgh Police Department was charged Wednesday with one count of criminal homicide.
Authorities say Officer Michael Rosfeld, who is white, shot Antwon Rose Jr., 17, on June 19 while fleeing from a car that had been stopped on suspicion it was involved in a drive-by shooting. Police were questioning the driver when Rose and another man fled. Rose was shot three times.
“This is a small stride toward justice, but we have a very long road ahead,” said lawyer S. Lee Merritt, who said he plans to file a federal lawsuit on behalf of the Rose family.
No weapons were found on Rose, but two guns were found in the vehicle, police said. The other man who fled the scene, Zaijuan Hester, was charged this week with attempted homicide and other counts related to the drive-by shooting. The driver was not charged.
The criminal complaint says Rosfeld first told investigators Rose moved his hand toward Rosfeld and appeared to be holding something “he perceived as a gun.” Later, Rosfeld told investigators he did not see a gun and he was not sure if the teen’s arm was pointed at him when the fatal shots were fired.
Rose’s death set off a series of protests across the Pittsburgh area that drew hundreds of demonstrators, many armed with “Black Lives Matter” signs and shouting “No Justice, No Peace.”
Rosfeld’s attorney, Patrick Thomassey, said Rosfeld was freed on $250,000 bond and faces a preliminary hearing July 6. Rosfeld, 30, has been on administrative leave since the shooting. The officer had previously worked for other departments but was sworn in the East Pittsburgh force about three hours before the shooting.
“The process is going to work,” Thomassey told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We’re going to go through the process, and we’ll see.”
Contributing: The Associated Press
Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/2tyF2ho