Lawmakers comment on acquittal of white police officer in fatal shooting of Antwon Rose

PITTSBURGH, March 23 – Pittsburgh-area lawmakers today released the following statement regarding the acquittal of former East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld, who fatally shot Antwon Rose II, an unarmed black teenager, in the back last summer.  

“First and foremost, our deepest sympathies go out to Michelle Kenny and Antwon Rose Sr. as well as the rest of Antwon’s family and friends. Our community lost a 17-year-old boy. We will continue to mourn this senseless and pointless loss of the life. The life he lived as well as the life he could’ve gone on to live.

“While no verdict can bring Antwon back, we had hoped to see justice for his murder. Unfortunately, there will be no justice for Antwon. This outcome, while extremely disappointing, is far from surprising. Our region has a troubling history of racial injustices. The loss of an unarmed Antwon with no punishment for the police officer who shot him three times as he tried to flee will be added to that history.

“America has a problem with police officers murdering African-American men and women that our region is not immune to. From Freddie Gray, to Sandra Bland, to Philando Castile and now Antwon Rose, police officers time and time again have used excessive, unnecessary force against African-American civilians and faced no criminal convictions for their actions.

“As a nation, we simply cannot sit back, express our outrage for a few days and then return to our daily lives until a tragedy such as this happens again. Because make no mistake – it will happen again unless we work to prevent it. We must be proactive in addressing the inequality in police interactions with African-American men and women. We must be proactive in expressing, through both words and actions, that we will not accept this. We must be proactive in standing together to end the loss of life at the hands of those who are meant to protect us.

“Martin Luther King Jr. once said that ‘True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.’ There is no justice in across our region today. There is no justice for Antwon and his family. There is no justice for the communities of color that are continually revictimized when they see a family member, friend, neighbor or coworker needlessly lose their life with no punishment for those who acted aggressively or carelessly.

“There will not be justice until we demand justice through legislative and civil actions. We encourage all those feeling despondent, angry and hurt to stand together and support one another. Though there is no justice for Antwon today, we are resolute that the system can be changed to ensure justice in the future.”

Signed,
Rep. Jake Wheatley
Rep. Ed Gainey
Rep. Austin Davis
Rep. Summer Lee
County Councilman Dewit Walton
City Councilman Daniel Lavalle