PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Hundreds of protesters have taken to Pittsburgh streets after former police officer Michael Rosfeld found not guilty of shooting Antwon Rose.
A jury found Rosfeld, who is charged in the June 2018 shooting death of 17-year-old Antwon Rose II, not guilty.
Watch Kym Gable’s report —
The jury reached their verdict after deliberating for about three and a half hours Friday.
A large crowd of protesters began to gather outside the Allegheny County Courthouse shortly after the verdict was announced.
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At one point, one protester read a poem Rose wrote two years before he was killed that said in part, “I AM NOT WHAT YOU THINK! I am confused and afraid. I wonder what path I will take.”
Watch Paul Martino’s report —
The Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety says they will continue to do what they can to keep the city safe.
“While preparing for the end of the Michael Rosfeld trial, the focus and singular goal of the City of Pittsburgh’s Public Safety Department was to keep the city safe.
That remains our focus tonight. It will remain our focus in the days to come.
If demonstrations occur, Pittsburgh Police will be present to assure safety for everyone — including demonstrators, residents, business owners and visitors to our city.
We know from experience that when Pittsburgh experiences hardships, we come together as a community.
Public Safety’s mission is and always will be to keep everyone safe.”
Around 11:55 p.m. Friday, Public Safety tweeted that a peaceful demonstration in East Liberty was resulting in multiple rolling/temporary closures.
ALERT: Peaceful demonstration in East Liberty is resulting in multiple rolling/temporary road closures. Be aware of delays. @PghPolice is present to assure safety.
— Pgh Public Safety (@PghPublicSafety) March 23, 2019
Rosfeld shot and killed Rose last summer after pulling over an unlicensed taxicab suspected to have been involved in a drive-by shooting minutes earlier. Rose, a passenger in the vehicle, was shot in the back as he fled.
The fact that Rosfeld shot Rose was never in dispute; instead, the jury was tasked with deciding if the shooting was justified.
Prosecutors charged Rosfeld with an open count of homicide, meaning the jury could convict Rosfeld of murder or manslaughter. The defense argued a murder charge wasn’t appropriate in the case.
“What we have is a police officer doing his duty. There’s not a hardness of heart required for first- or third-degree murder,” defense lawyer Patrick Thomassey argued in court. “We have a burst of three shots in one second on a fleeing felon and we’re going to charge him with murder? It’s not fair.”
The trial began on Tuesday morning with opening statements, lasting about 45 minutes. After that, the prosecution began presenting their case.