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HILL DISTRCT (KDKA) – Less than 24 hours after a jury acquitted former East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld in the shooting death of Antwon Rose II, protesters began to gather at Freedom Corner in the Hill District.
“We already knew what the verdict was. It’s unfortunate, and it’s sad that the jury came back so fast,” protester Jeannine Smith said.
“Mix of emotions — disappointment, anger, frustration. I think frustration mostly because this is yet another example of the system failing us,” protester Aerion Abney said.
A few turned into many with signs and spoken words voicing outrage over the verdict.
Antwon Rose’s father, Antwon Rose Sr., spoke to the crowd.
“I just wanna thank you all. I don’t have a lot of words. I’m really still stuck,” he said.
After about 30 minutes, the event changed from a protest rally to a protest march.
About 200 marchers made their way from the Lower Hill to Downtown Pittsburgh, blocking streets periodically along the way.
Pittsburgh Police were both in front of and behind the marchers to keep traffic clear.
The march eventually came to an end close to where it started with organizers promising there will be more.
Protesters gathered later Saturday evening in Oakland.
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After four days of testimony and about three and a half hours of deliberations by an out-of-town jury, Rosfeld was found not guilty on all four possible charges — first-degree murder, third-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter — around 9:15 p.m. Friday. The jury of six men and six women was selected across the state in Harrisburg and was sequestered in a Pittsburgh hotel for the duration of the trial.
Protests began Friday night after the verdict was announced. A large crowd gathered outside the Allegheny County Courthouse and marched through East Liberty for a few hours.
The District Attorney’s office put out the following statement Saturday afternoon: “As was stated last night, our office disagreed with the verdict and we understand the frustration of everyone who was hoping for and expecting a different outcome. However, the community needs to realize that when such frustration becomes hateful and violent, there will be ramifications for those involved in that behavior.”
In their statement Friday night, Zappala said in part, “While I respectfully disagree with their verdict, it is the people of this commonwealth who decide guilty or not guilty and they have spoken to this matter.”