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EAST PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The East Pittsburgh Police Department has been at the center of controversy since one of their police officers shot and killed 17-year-old Antwon Rose II on the night of June 19.
And while no decision has been finalized, negotiations are underway towards disbanding the department.
It was a quiet meeting with just a small group of citizens on Tuesday night in East Pittsburgh Borough. The borough’s council held a short meeting, and on the agenda, getting rid of the police department that’s been under fire.
“It’s a possibility,” Dennis Simon, the president of East Pittsburgh Borough Council, said. “We don’t have any definite answers yet.”
East Pittsburgh residents have remained vigilant, first calling for the firing of officer Michael Rosfeld in connection with Rose’s shooting, as well as for changes in police policies and procedures.
“If they’re going to take accountability for that, and try to make it better, and change it to where they could have some policies, that’s a step in the right direction,” Erica Yesko, a community activist and resident of East Pittsburgh, said.
The Borough Council says disbanding the department has been a consideration for sometime, but community concern is also a consideration, according to Simon.
“It’s financial, it’s safety, it’s how many patrols, how many calls, things like that,” said Simon. “We’ve been thinking about this for years, actually. It’s something that’s been in progress for a long time.”
In July, the mayor said they were engaging in a review of the department and hoped to have a timetable of what happens in the future, soon.
“The community wants safe for our children. That is our concern, that nothing else happens to anyone of our children again. We lost a young man, we will never forget his name, Antwon Rose II,” Yesko said.
Rosfeld is charged with criminal homicide in the unarmed teen’s death.
This Saturday, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala has scheduled a meeting from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Palisades in McKeesport for all police departments to review police procedures to make sure they are the most up to date.
A decision on whether to disband, merge or consolidate the East Pittsburgh Police Department is expected to be finalized at next month’s borough council meeting.