PITTSBURGH – The father of a killed black teenager asked for peace on Saturday after the acquittal of a white policeman triggered an obvious retaliatory shooting in the defense lawyer's office and sparked protests in the streets of Pittsburgh.
The police continued to use the officers in 12-hour shifts until further notice. The verdict on late Friday in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Antwon Rose II. Annoyed his family and heads of state, causing hundreds of people to gather at a crossroads on Saturday afternoon called Freedom Corner in the Hill District neighborhood, the historic one Center of black cultural life in Pittsburgh. A man was holding a sign with the names of black men killed in the US by police officers.
"It's very painful to see what happened, to sit there and deal with it," Rose's father, Antwon Rose Sr., told the crowd. "I just do not want it to happen to our city anymore."
He then told reporters: "I want peace, time, everywhere … Just because there was violence does not mean that we counter it with violence."
The largely white crowd then marched through the Downtown Pittsburgh and other neighborhoods regularly blocked the streets as they sang, "Who did that? The police did that!" The protest soon took place on the University of Pittsburgh campus. The police reported no immediate arrests or injuries.
Five to eight gunshots were fired into the building on Saturday, where the officer's lawyer, Patrick Thomassey, was working, police said, near Monroeville. Nobody was hurt. The police said they had taken the place as a precaution, and the fire broke out when they answered another call at midnight.
The former East Pittsburgh police officer, Michael Rosfeld, was charged with murder when the unarmed teenager was run away from a traffic stop last June. Rosfeld testified that he thought Rose or another suspect had a gun aimed at him and he fired to protect himself and the community. "I hope the man never sleeps at night," said Rose's mother, Michelle Kenney, the verdict, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I hope he can sleep as much as I do, which is not one."
Rose's family is now filing a federal civil rights lawsuit against Rosfeld and East Pittsburgh, a small community some 16 kilometers away in downtown Pittsburgh where the trial took place.
Thomassey told reporters after the verdict that Rosfeld is "a good man, is he". The defender said he hopes the city will remain calm and "everyone takes a deep breath and lives with their lives."
The leaders of two major Pittsburgh charities made a statement expressing "shock and outrage" over the verdict. [19659005"Pittsburghsadlyissuedatroublingandgrowingcatalogofcasesinunifiedstateswherelawenforcementagenciesorsecurityofficialswererelievedoftheunwillingnessofyoungblackstosubmittosuspiciouscircumstances"wroteMaxwellKingPresidentandCEOofPittsburghFoundationandGrantOliphantPresentEndowmentsPresident
"We asked the question:" Would Antwon Rose be alive today if he had been white? "We, his family and the African-American community leaders believe that this would most likely be the case."
Pittsburgh was in the limelight less than five months ago when an armed gunman killed 11 Jews in a synagogue.
Rose I drove in an unlicensed taxi that had been shot passing by just a few minutes earlier when Rosfeld pulled the car against her back, arm, and side of her face. Neither Rose nor another teenager in the taxi held a gun in his hand when the officer opened the fire, though two guns were later found in the vehicle.
Rosfeld had worked only a few weeks for the East Pittsburgh Police Department and was only sworn in hours before the shoot.
The 12-member jury – including three black members – saw a video of the deadly confrontation. The jury took less than four hours to pass judgment.
Prosecutor Jonathan Fodi argued that the video showed that the officer was not at risk. However, a defense expert testified that Rosfeld had the right to use deadly force to stop suspects he believed were involved in a shootout.
The prosecution did not call its own expert on violence, a decision of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania interviewed. However, prosecutors spokesman Mike Manko said prosecutors were confident that they had what they needed for their case.
Just before the stop, another person in the taxi, Zaijuan Hester, lowered a window and shot at her with two men in the street punching him in the stomach. 18-year-old Hester pleaded guilty last week for reinforcing injuries to personal injuries and firearms. He said that he, not Rose, had made the shootings.
The prosecutors charged Rosfeld with an open murder-counting trial, which meant that the jury had the opportunity to convict him of murder or manslaughter.
Associated Press writers Michael Rubinkam of northeastern Pennsylvania, Ramesh Santanam of Pittsburgh and Keith Srakocic of Pittsburgh contributed to this story.