Jun 27, 2018

East Pittsburgh officer charged after killing unarmed black teen

Protestors gather, holding a sign "Justice for Antwon"

Photo: Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Eight days after Antwon Rose Jr., an unarmed black 17-year-old, was shot and killed in East Pittsburgh, the police officer responsible, Michael Rosfeld, has been charged with criminal homicide, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Police officers are very rarely charged after their involvement in fatal shootings. The Rose family's attorney tweeted in response to the news: "This is a small stride toward justice but we have a very long road ahead."

The details: Last Tuesday, East Pittsburgh officers were investigating a drive-by shooting when they came across Rose and two other people in a car that matched a witness description of the car involved. Rose and another person fled after being confronted by police — and Rose was struck "several" times after police fired. Graphic video of the shooting was shared on Facebook.

  • Rose was unarmed at the time, although two "firearms were recovered from the vehicle," the Post reports.
  • Rosfeld changed his story, first saying he he say Rose pointing "something dark that he perceived as a gun;" he then said he did not see a gun; and another time he changed his account of events again.
  • Rose is the only fatality at the hands of the East Pittsburgh Police Department since 2015, the Post reports.

What's next: Rosfeld's bail is set at $250,000. His attorney, Patrick Thomassey, told CBS last Friday that Rosfeld is "depressed and feels bad about what happened and that it was his first time ever firing his weapon as a police officer."

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