A jury has acquitted a white former police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager outside Pittsburgh.
Former East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld was charged with homicide for killing 17-year-old Antwon Rose II last June. Rose was riding in an unlicensed taxi that was involved in a drive-by shooting. Rosfeld pulled the car over and shot Rose in the back, arm and side of the face as the teen ran away.
Rosfeld testified that he thought Rose or another passenger in the car had a gun pointed at him.
The shooting triggered protests in the Pittsburgh area last year.
The jury saw video of the fatal confrontation.
The jury deliberated fewer than four hours before reaching its verdict. There were tears and gasps from black people gathered in an overflow courtroom, and several broke out in song: “Antwon Rose was a freedom fighter, and he taught us how to fight.”
Rose’s family remained stoic after Rosfeld was acquitted. His sister had tears streaming down her face after the jury cleared the former officer and her mother urged her not to cry.
Rosfeld’s wife burst out sobbing as the verdict was announced. She and Rosfeld were hustled out of the courtroom by deputies.
Rosfeld’s attorney, Patrick Thomassey, told reporters that Rosfeld is “a good man.”