FOREST HILLS (KDKA) — Hundreds of protesters blocked traffic on the Parkway East, creating a major traffic jam late Thursday night into early Friday morning, as they held another rally in response to the police-involved shooting of 17-year-old Antwon Rose Jr. by East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld.
The protesters marched from the East Pittsburgh Police Station, down Route 30 in Forest Hills to the Parkway East where they blocked traffic in both directions, backing up traffic for miles for hours.
Around 1 a.m. Friday, police told the protesters still on the scene to leave or be arrested. Around 1:30 a.m., officers began arriving in riot gear to try to break up the lengthy protest. Just after 2 a.m., officers began moving in on the few protesters that were left, some on the street, others who had moved off behind a guardrail. At least one woman was taken into custody. State police later referred to it as a “summary arrest.”
The tractor-trailers stuck in a long line on the inbound side of the highway began pulling away around 2:30 a.m.
The Parkway East had reopened to traffic by 3 a.m.
KDKA’s David Highfield Reports:
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Allegheny County 911 was asking motorists out on Thursday night to avoid the area of the Parkway East and Ardmore Boulevard.
By 11 p.m., the protesters had shut down the busy highway for about two hours.
At one point, police say a truck driver got out of his truck and threatened protesters with a tire iron.
When the protests began, there were some tense moments as the protesters and a motorcyclist, who was blocked by them, clashed.
Some demonstrators sat in the middle of Route 30 and blocked traffic.
Among the crowds chants were, “Shut it down,” as they blocked cars from going anywhere. People are furious after the East Pittsburgh Police officer fatally shot Rose, who was unarmed and running away at the time, on Tuesday night. Police were initially called to North Braddock earlier that night for a shooting incident.
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Rose’s aunt was one of the marchers.
“I’m thinking that the cops should be held accountable,” she said. “I’m thinking that Antwon should be here. I’m thinking we should not be having this rally because he should be here, he should not have been killed.”
KDKA’s David Highfield Reports:
The protest started outside the East Pittsburgh Police station, but soon the group was on the move, up Route 30, towards the Parkway, stopping at intersections to lead chants.
Police followed the march, keeping an eye on the protestors. Eventually, they walked up on the Parkway East and blocked all traffic.