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Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh statement regarding Michael Rosfeld verdict


  Last Friday evening, twelve jurors, including three African Americans – one serving as jury foreman, followed the instructions given to them and found Michael Rosfeld not guilty of first degree murder, third degree murder, voluntary or involuntary manslaughter in the death of unarmed, fleeing seventeen-year-old Antwon Rose.


Antwon’s family and friends, civic and community leaders, Black Pittsburghers and Pittsburghers of many races, religions, and perspectives were stunned, hurt and angered by the verdict.


Out of context, as a one in a million circumstance, this could be viewed as a tragic outcome for a good kid who had gotten himself into a bad situation and then made the fatal mistake of attempting to run.


However, the unbearable sadness, discouragement and source of anger comes from the knowledge that Antwon’s death is not one in a million, but one more in a long litany of deaths of unarmed African Americans, frequently at the hands of law enforcement officers.


What Black Pittsburghers know and what mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers of all races know is that it is most natural for an adult to be protective of a youngster. We can easily imagine that had the same situation occurred in Mount Lebanon, the officer might well have refrained from shooting to kill as the adolescents ran away.  Perhaps we are wrong in imagining that to be the case, but we can picture it and very easily.  And, with horrible, seemingly bottomless sadness, we cannot imagine the same benefit of the doubt being given to a Black adolescent running away in East Liberty. 


We salute the hundreds of young people and others who joined with them in marching for justice in honor of Antwon Rose on Monday.  We are proud of the orderly, powerful representation creating a roar, demanding justice and, in so doing, defending hope during these very dark days. 


Esther L. Bush

President & CEO 


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