Furious Pittsburgh Protests Forced Arrest of Michael Rosefeld The Killer-Cop

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Michael Rosefeld. Everipedia.org

Last week, 30-year-old White Killer-Cop Michael Rosefeld was charged with criminal homicide for murdering a Black teen-ager Antwon Rose; Rosefeld executed the boy by shooting him three times in the back, as Rose was running away.

Even though corporate media didn't provide adequate covering of the non-stop protests, it was such resistance that led to the arrest of Rose's killer.

The ACLU released a statement praising Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala for charging Officer Rosefeld.

The statement reads, in part, “The ACLU commends District Attorney Zappala for his quick and decisive response to this horrific tragedy and interest in pursuing charges, including possibly first-degree murder. The DA confirmed in his public remarks that there was no evidence Antwon was involved in the shooting which prompted the traffic stop. He was fleeing unarmed, and the officer had no justification for shooting and ultimately killing him. It is refreshing to see the District Attorney’s office hold officers who abuse their power accountable.”

“Our hearts continue to break for Antwon’s family and community. Just a week ago, they called for justice for Antwon. Criminal charges against Officer Rosfeld are a start.

We should realize this: Rosefeld was not charged because of government’s belief in the “rule of law.” He was charged because Pittsburg protesters put pressure on officials to act legally—in a clear-cut case of an unjustified police shooting of an unarmed Black civilian, who posed no threat to police.

The consecutive nights of protests—including the shutting down of Interstate 376—forced prosecutors to act as if accountability matters. It usually doesn’t when police kill unarmed, non-threatening Black people. And, protesters achieved this despite the anemic national media coverage of Officer Rosefeld’s videotaped back-shooting of Rose.

Why has national media been so slow in covering this major murder story? We are bombarded daily with news about how the North Koreans are supposedly playing Trump, but the cold-blooded murder of a Black teen-ager as seen as worthy of minimal coverage by the mostly White males who set the national news agenda.

Wednesday’s arrest of Rosefeld was warranted. This officer was caught on video—recorded by an anonymous neighborhood resident—shooting Rose after Rose fled the car he was riding in with two other occupants, when Officer Rosefeld stopped them. Reportedly, that car matched the description of a car present at the scene of an earlier shooting.

Of course, this last detail, was initially repeatedly emphasized to give the appearance Officer Rosefeld was somehow justified in perpetrating the cold-blood murder we witness on video. Another fact repeated is that two guns were recovered from the car Rose was riding in.

Rose himself was unarmed when he was mowed down.

However, the fact guns were recovered is irrelevant in deciding whether Officer Rosefeld had justification for shooting Rose, who was fleeing police. The facts here, and video, tells us Officer Rosefeld is a murderer.

The legal statute that allows police to use deadly force, and shoot someone as they are running away, is called the “Fleeing felon rule.” This rule, on paper, constrains the use of deadly force for specific dangerous situations.

Supreme Court Justice Byron White, in the 1985 Tennessee v. Garner case, put it this way “A police officer may not seize an unarmed, non-dangerous suspect by shooting him dead...however...Where the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm, either to the officer or to others, it is not constitutionally unreasonable to prevent escape by using deadly force.”

In that case, Memphis Police Officer Elton Hymon shot dead Edward Garner, a Black 15-year-old, as he tried to scale a fence after he had burglarized a home for $10. The Supreme Court, with Justice White writing the majority opinion, agreed the shooting of Garner by Officer Hymon was unjustified.

What makes this shooting of Antwon Rose even more unjustified is: Rose did not commit a criminal act against anyone.

Again, much has been made about the fact that two guns were recovered from the car Rose was in. This was done to give the perception that Rose was engaged in criminality. Given all the hype we’re given about the sanctity of the Second Amendment, why is gun possession by Blacks deemed as evidence of engagement in criminality?

We’re now told, by police, that one of the other occupants of the car, Zaijuan Hester, 17, shot a 22-year-old man. Hester has been charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault, receiving stolen property and firearms violations.

Anything police now tell us should be scrutinized.

Not surprisingly, some—including in media—have used these details to insinuate that Rose may’ve been involved in the shooting. Some media reports claimed a video existed showing Rose firing a gun. Other news reports falsely claimed Rose had gunshot residue on his person from firing a gun.

None of that is true.

Prosecutor Steven Zappala told reporters “Antwon Rose didn’t do anything in North Braddock other than being in that vehicle.” Other officials have contradicted these false media accounts.

Alleghany County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough released the following statement denying these false news claims saying: “The Allegheny County Police Department (ACPD) continues to receive inquiries related to reports from police sources that 1) a video of the drive-by shooting in North Braddock shows Antwon Rose firing a gun; and, 2) that gunshot residue has been found on Antwon Rose’s hands.

"According to Lieutenant Andrew Schurman of the Allegheny County Police Department’s Homicide Unit, both reports are false. While ACPD does have a video showing the North Braddock incident, that video does not show Antwon Rose firing a gun. The information about gunshot residue is also false. Crime Lab reports are still pending and have not yet been issued. The District Attorney’s office also concurs and affirms the information provided by Lt. Schurman.”

McDonough also said “We caution the media about providing irresponsible information from sources that are not verified. Once published, such false information can be widely spread.”

This is an astounding comment from a police official. Oftentimes, it is police who are twisting and falsifying evidence to exonerate themselves. Indeed, it should be noted the above statement talked about the false media “inquiries related to reports from police sources.”

Who are these lying “police sources?” These are classical public relations diversionary tactics.

The larger question here is: why has the media been so slow in covering this shooting? Doesn’t it seem like media didn’t want to cover this?

For some time now, media gate-keepers apparently have decided not to cover these police shootings, of Black people, in any in-depth fashion, as was occurring after the killings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. This has created the false perception that unjust police killings of Blacks have ended.

The 1968 Kerner Commission Report—which investigated the causes of urban unrest and rebellions in 1967—characterized media as being “shockingly backward,” in a variety of areas, including in their coverage of racism. America media is still “shockingly backward.” Press punditry avoids serious analytical debate regarding racism, cleverly using “objective journalism” to avoid uncomfortable truths.

Have you noticed lately how mainstream media gives us more “feel good” stories humanizing officers—while they shrink coverage of the continued killings and murders of Black people by police? Somehow, because media can illustrate individual acts of kindness, by individual officers, we’re supposed to believe there is no longer a problem with institutional racism within America’s corrupt cop culture.

Fortunately, because of the Pittsburg protesters, Antwon Rose is now being humanized as a well-liked, gifted, young Black man who was a good student, who played the saxophone and wrote poetry. In fact, we are now left with his haunting poem which gives us insight into his struggles with being Black, in America, when he writes about being "confused and afraid."

In his poem, titled “I Am not What You Think,” Rose stated "I understand people believe I'm just a statistic. "I say to them I'm different." Ironically, Rose has now become the latest statistic on the long list of Black people who’ve been sent to their graves by police.

Rose was also clearly grappling with the prospect of dying young, because he was a Black man, when he wrote: "I see mothers bury their sons. I want my mom to never feel that pain."

Sadly, “that pain” could not be avoided when Rose’s mother recently buried Antwon. Black America must say to this racist justice system that: Officer Michael Rosefeld must not go unpunished for murdering Antwon Rose.

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