Community Issues

Students Walk Out of School, Take to Streets Over Police Shooting Verdict

They're protesting the acquittal of a white police officer who shot a black teenager.

(Image: Celeste Smith/1Hood Media)

Hundreds of school and college students walked out of class and marched through the streets of downtown Pittsburgh this morning, protesting Friday night's not-guilty verdict for a white police officer who shot a black teenager during a traffic stop in the suburb of East Pittsburgh last June.

The students walked out of their classrooms and gathered downtown. Outside the Allegheny County Jail, two young people held a banner that said "He was seventeen," referring to Antwon Rose, who was 17-years old when he was killed.

(Image :1Hood Media Facebook Page )

June 19, 2018, Officer Michael Rosfeld pulled over a car believed to have been involved in a drive-by shooting an hour before the confrontation. He shot and killed Rose as he ran from the traffic stop. Rosfeld's attorney, Patrick Thomassey, argued successfully that the shooting was justified because the police officer feared for his life.

Reactions to the acquittal were strong on both sides. Thomassey said the jury's verdict was the right one and that "this case had nothing to do with race. Mike Rosfeld was doing his job. It had nothing to do with the color of anybody." Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, in a tweet, said that in his view "inequality exists & we have a moral obligation to address it."

Others, like the students -- black and white -- who marched, felt justice was not served. They chanted "What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!" as they marched toward Grant Street, downtown, where the Allegheny County and Federal Courthouses are located.

(Video & image: Alliance for Police Accountability Facebook Page )

Two young people carried a hand painted portrait of Rose.

After a rally outside the City-County Building where protesters chanted "Whose courthouse? Our Courthouse!," the march ended at the intersection of Grant Street and Liberty Avenue, near the federal courthouse. "We've gotta make our voices heard," a woman shouted through a megaphone. "We can't be silent anymore."

(Video: 1Hood Media Facebook Page)

The protest was peaceful, and there were no arrests. Pittsburgh Public Schools said students could be given an unexcused absence from school if they didn't bring parental permission to leave class and participate in the protest. Click here for the district's statement.

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