PITTSBURGH (AP/KDKA) — The foreman of a jury that acquitted a white Pennsylvania police officer of homicide says Michael Rosfeld didn’t know the black teen he shot was unarmed as he ran after the vehicle he was riding in was pulled over.
Juror Jesse Rawls Sr. told WHTM-TV that Antwon Rose II and another occupant who ran from the stop “brought it on themselves” and that the then-East Pittsburgh officer knew there had just been a drive-by shooting and was scared.
“Guy rolled down the window, was in the back seat, and the guy fired nine shots at the guy on the corner… hit him once,” said Rawls. “Once you were in a felony stop, they knew, the cop knew, Michael knew that these kids been shooting at someone. So what goes through your mind as as an officer?”
Rawls, who is black, is a 72-year-old retired schoolteacher and wrestling coach from Harrisburg, where jurors were picked for last week’s trial in Pittsburgh.
Rawls said Rosfeld believed himself to be in danger when he pulled the car over, but followed procedure in commanding the driver to get out of the car.
“He asked the guy to throw the keys out — turn the car off, throw the keys out — which he did. Take your right hand over the door, which he did. Get out with your hands up, which he did,” Rawls said.
On the witness stand, Rosfeld said while he was subduing the driver, Rose and Zaijuan Hester exited the car and that one paused and raised a hand. Rosfeld said he thought he saw a gun.
“We also have the dispatch, the radio dispatch, talking about the whole process. We focused on that. We focused on the pictures. We even got up and demonstrate how could this happen,” he said.
He says jurors “did what was right” in acquitting Rosfeld of all charges Friday.
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- Hundreds March Through Oakland In Peaceful Protest Of Michael Rosfeld’s Acquittal
- ‘I Got A Long Fight Ahead Of Me’: Antwon Rose’s Mother Says ‘It’s Not Over’ Following Michael Rosfeld’s Acquittal
“You know what I found out? That when you sat down and you listened to all the evidence, and you there. You’re probably gonna, you’re going to make the right decision,” Rawls said.
Hundreds of high school and college students are protesting the verdict Monday in downtown Pittsburgh.
The jury voted unanimously, not guilty on all four counts.
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