PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Protesters calling for justice over the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Antwon Rose by an East Pittsburgh Police officer after a felony stop on Tuesday joined forces with the previously scheduled Juneteenth Freedom Parade on Freedom Corner on Saturday morning.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and U.S. Representatives Mike Doyle and Conor Lamb joined more than 50 community organizations, including the 28th U.S. Infantry, 911 Airlift Wing, USCT Re-enactors and Religious Leaders participated in the parade, which started on the corner of Center Avenue and Crawford Street.
“We’re talking about everything that’s goes on in the community, that’s part of it, but this is the Juneteenth Parade,” event organizer William Marshall said.
The original purpose of the parade was to celebrate the “Jubilee of Freemen” Parade held in Pittsburgh on April 26, 1870. The parade celebrated the ratification of the 15th Amendment granting black men the right to vote.
Peduto said in addition to celebrating the Juneteenth Freedom Parade, they were there “for the purpose of making sure justice is served.”
“We’re here also just to recognize the things that are going on in our community and also to say enough is enough,” Derrick Tillman, with Bridging the Gap Pittsburgh, said.
There are still a lot of unanswered questions about the fatal shooting of Rose, but the speakers at the event were certain about one thing.
“We need training for our police officers, too,” Doyle said. “Nobody should discharge a weapon at anyone that’s running away from them.”
“There’s no justification for shooting a man in his back, period. No justification,” Pennsylvania Rep. Ed Gainey said.
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Some speakers lamented the fact that another young life was destroyed.
“That kid touched lives. That’s a dream deferred. That’s promises unkept,” Aliquppa Mayor Dwan Walker said.
“Whether it’s Antwon, whether it’s the other children you have seen on television all week, children in cages, children who are separated from their families, these are children. These are children and we’re supposed to lead,” Lamb said.
The marchers were reminded Antwon is one of five young people from Woodland Hills shot over the last two years.
“While you are marching, when you are supporting, when you are demanding justice, please remember the students from Woodland Hills. Remember they have been through so much this year,” community activist Summer Lee said.
The crowd marched and chanted through downtown, calling for justice and an end to the violence.