KTEP - El Paso, Texas

Protests Follow Pa. Officer's Acquittal In Fatal Shooting Of A Black Man

Mar 25, 2019
Originally published on March 25, 2019 6:23 am
Copyright 2019 WESM 91.3 FM. To see more, visit WESM 91.3 FM.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

There were protests in the city of Pittsburgh over the weekend. The crowds came out after a jury on Friday acquitted a white police officer on all charges in the death of Antwon Rose, an unarmed black teenager who was shot during a traffic stop. Amy Sisk of member station WESA went to the vigil that took place outside the teen's home.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: What was his name?

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: Antwon Rose II.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: What was his name?

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: Antwon Rose II.

AMY SISK, BYLINE: Those gathered here hope for justice after the death of 17-year-old Antwon Rose. Many wanted to see former East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld convicted after he shot Rose last June. The verdict came back Friday. A jury that included African-Americans quickly reached a conclusion that the officer was not guilty. That set off protests over the weekend, with demonstrators marching through streets and blocking intersections.

Sunday's vigil struck a softer tone. People set flowers and candles atop a basketball court. Rose's mother, Michelle Kenney, spoke about the police officer.

MICHELLE KENNEY: But my life has been turned upside down, so I just pray that he sees Antwon's face in everything he does.

SISK: Also at the vigil was 20-year-old artist Ronald Butler, who started a painting a few hours after the verdict came in.

RONALD BUTLER: I was just working straight through the night. Once I heard it, it was just paint, paint, paint.

SISK: On his canvas, words like criminal and thug surround a black man.

BUTLER: I painted this to symbolize how words can hurt just as much as actual bullets and actual violence.

SISK: After Rose's death, he says he hopes black people here will uplift one another. But, he says, it shouldn't take someone dying to bring people together. For NPR News, I'm Amy Sisk in Pittsburgh. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.