Jury to be picked for police killing of unarmed black teen

Combined Shape

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A judge in the case of a white western Pennsylvania police officer accused of shooting to death a black teenager last year put a black woman on the jury Tuesday over the defense’s objections but said he will reconsider the decision.

Allegheny County Judge Alexander Bicket agreed that lawyers for former East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld had improperly ruled out the woman based on race, but later said he would “revisit” the topic.

Rosfeld, 30, of Verona, is charged with criminal homicide for the June shooting death of Antwon Rose II. Rose, 17, was shot three times, including in the back, as he ran from a vehicle that Rosfeld had stopped.

The shooting prompted a series of protests, including a late night march down a major highway.

The first day of jury selection produced six women and three men for the panel, including two black women and one black man. Jurors are being chosen in Harrisburg because of widespread publicity about the case in the Pittsburgh area.

Trending:
CNN's Don Lemon Fails to Get Guest to Take 'Bait,' Instead Gets Contradicted on Slavery

The trial will begin next week in Pittsburgh and is expected to last more than a week.

Prosecutors and the defense both have challenges they may use to eliminate potential jurors, but those challenges cannot be based on a potential juror’s race, gender or ethnicity.

A 55-year-old black woman from Harrisburg was ruled out by Rosfeld defense attorney Patrick Thomassey, prompting a so-called “Batson challenge” from the Allegheny County prosecutors. They said two of the three people Rosfeld’s lawyers had eliminated from consideration were black.

Thomassey argued the woman would face pressure from the community where she lives, but when she was called back for more questioning she said that was not the case.

“No, I’m a loner,” the woman said. “I don’t deal with my neighbors.”

Bicket put her on the jury over Thomassey’s strenuous objections.

“I will revisit that issue once I look at the case law,” the judge said.

The other jurors include a retired railroad worker, a mother of three who works the overnight shift and does not watch much TV, the girlfriend of a retired state trooper and a retired schoolteacher and wrestling coach.

Thomassey has said that Rosfeld was in fear and that the shooting was justified. He has described Rosfeld as remorseful and stunned to learn Rose did not have a gun in his hand.

Related:
Police Respond to Simultaneous Mass Shooting and Fire in Maryland Neighborhood

Rosfeld was charged, investigators said, after his story changed about whether he saw or believed a gun was in Rose’s hands.

Video shot from a nearby house captured the shooting.

Rose had been a front-seat passenger in an unlicensed cab that was stopped as part of an investigation into a drive-by shooting.

A prosecutor has said Rose had nothing to do with the drive-by shooting, and had shown his hands when he got out of the unlicensed cab.

Rose was described as a promising student who did charity work. He would have been a high school senior this year.

Officials say two handguns were found inside the car Rose had been riding in. District Attorney Stephen Zappala said an empty gun clip was found in Rose’s pocket.

East Pittsburgh, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) east of Pittsburgh, notified state police in November it was closing down its police department.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →






We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




Conversation