East Pittsburgh: Police Murder Antwon Rose Jr.—Hundreds Go Into the Streets in Outrage

Updated June 28, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Update June 28: The pig who murdered Antwon Rose was charged with criminal homicide on Wednesday, June 27. Criminal homicide is a broad category, and the prosecutors could pursue the case as murder or manslaughter. A judge or jury could find the killer cop, Michael Rosfeld, not guilty or convict him of a manslaughter charge, which would be a slap on the wrist. The judge gave Rosfeld “unsecured” bail, and he was released within hours. The only reason Rosfeld was even indicted—unlike most killer cops who don’t even get charged—was because of the determined struggle of the people to not let Antwon’s murder be swept under the rug.

On Sunday, June 24, Antwon’s mother said on Good Morning America that Rosfeld “murdered my son in cold blood” and told people to “keep fighting” for justice for Antwon. The next day, Antwon’s family, schoolmates, and friends gathered at the auditorium of his school for an emotional funeral. On Tuesday, June 26, one week after Antwon's murder, a hundred protesters, mainly youth, resumed their righteous actions in the streets, this time marching to the downtown area and disrupting traffic all along the way.


As of Sunday, June 24, people have taken to the streets of East Pittsburgh for four straight days and nights following the murder of Antwon Rose Jr., an unarmed 17-year-old Black teenager, shot three times in the back in cold blood by a pig on Tuesday, June 19.

Friday evening, protesters gathered in several different locations across the city. They blocked a bridge downtown for an hour at rush hour. Then protesters marched across the Roberto Clemente Bridge, which crosses the Allegheny River from downtown Pittsburgh toward the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball stadium, where a game was still in progress. Protesters flooded the streets as the Pirates game let out, creating a gridlock for both cars and pedestrians. At one point during a rally, people gathered to form a large circle, and all of the 17-year-olds there stood in the center.

Saturday was the start of Pittsburgh’s annual Juneteenth weekend parade and festival.1 This year the kickoff march was joined, and magnified, with the outrage at the murder of Antwon. More than 200 people showed up in the rain for the march. Antwon Rose’s young cousin, who carried a photo of Antwon, took the mic and said to the cops, “Stop killing us.” At the end Antwon’s great aunt told everyone to not just go home and say “I’ve done my part,” and that the protest “has to continue.”

Saturday evening the protests continued, with people mobilizing and marching in the streets at 9 pm, this time with Leon Ford taking the lead. Ford was paralyzed by Pittsburgh pigs in 2012 who “mistook him for another man.” Many protesters carried signs, which became a major chant, saying: “3 shots in the back. How do you justify that?” About 10:30 pm, cops came out in riot gear and blocked protesters from continuing down the street. The crowd marched right up to them, chanting, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” then split off and continued on the sidewalks, continuing for another hour or more.

Earlier in the week on Wednesday over 100 people protested in front of police headquarters, with some pushing back against and lying down in front of a police car to stop it. On Thursday afternoon 1,000 people came together for a rally at the county courthouse. That evening people marched through the streets, eventually going onto Interstate 376. For over two hours they blocked traffic in both directions. At 2 am pigs in riot gear began moving on the protesters who’d refused to leave. At least one woman was arrested.

 The murder, partly captured on video, shows the killer cop firing three shots into Antwon’s back just seconds after he and another passenger began to run from the car during a traffic stop. On the video, you can hear the woman recording it shout, “Why are they shooting? All they did was run and they’re shooting at them!” Antwon had no weapon on him.

Antwon’s friends, family, and teachers are reeling from Antwon’s murder. A woman who operated an organization that distributes donated goods to people in need told the Washington Post that she got an email in 2015 from Antwon asking if he could volunteer for her organization. She thought it remarkable that a 14-year-old would do this. She said of Antwon, “He was friendly, easy to work with, smart, vibrant. He was a caring person, and everyone loved him.”

A poem Antwon wrote at school last year when he was a 10th grader is titled “I Am Not What You Think!” and says in part, “I see mothers bury their sons/I want my mom to never feel that pain/I am confused and afraid.”

Tamir Rice … Trayvon Martin … Eric Garner … Sandra Bland … Stephon Clark … Maurice Granton Jr. … now Antwon Rose Jr.  These and thousands of other equally outrageous executions are part of an epidemic of wanton police murder and terror against Black, Brown, and Native American people—especially the youth—to enforce the oppression and white supremacy this whole putrid system is based on.

The protests in East Pittsburgh are righteous. They need to continue and be joined around the country by everyone who sees that what this system does to Black people and all oppressed is completely intolerable and unacceptable. And people need to join the movement for a real revolution to end this and all the horrors this system brings down.

STOP! Genocidal Persecution, Mass Incarceration, Police Brutality and Murder of Black and Brown People!

1. Juneteenth Day is a holiday commemorating June 18 and 19, 1865, when Union troops seized Galveston, Texas, and declared the emancipation of slaves throughout the state.  [back]

Antwon Rose, Jr.

June 22, protesters marched across the Roberto Clemente Bridge, which crosses the Allegheny River from downtown Pittsburgh toward the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball stadium, where a game was still in progress. Photo: AP

June 23, Saturday evening the protests continued, with people mobilizing and marching in the streets. Photo: Andrew Stein/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP

The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all of their brutality and murder, is the law and the order that enforces all this oppression and madness.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:24

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