Cop accused of killing teen demanding a complete restructuring of his homicide trial

A suburban Pittsburgh officer accused of killing an unarmed black teen wants a change of venue and non-local jury for his trial

police officer michael rosfield charged in the murder of Antwon Rose
Former police officer Michael Rosfield (right) is acquitted in the murder of Antwon Rose II (left.) (Courtesy of Facebook)
Lawyers for East Pittsburgh, Pa., police officer Michael Rosfeld has filed a motion requesting that an outside jury in a different venue decide his fate in the shooting of an unarmed Black teen, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

READ MORE: Pittsburgh councilman to face charges of trying to mow down protesters with his car

The Rosfeld trial is slated for February 26, and his attorney Patrick Thomassey wants the trial to move to a different county and the jury be picked from a different county. Rosfeld was charged with homicide for killing with 17-year-old Antwon Rose last June and remains free on $250,000 unsecured bond.

The criminal homicide case has resulted in dozens of protests across the city after Rose was shot three times and killed while running away from a vehicle that Rosfeld had pulled over. The car was suspected of being linked to a drive-by shooting in nearby North Braddock, according to Allegheny County police.

“There’s been so much consternation in this city,” Thomassey said in September. “We’ve had tie-ups of traffic, there have been people attacked, people pulled out of cars — it’s gotten a lot of attention. I mean, they picketed a judge’s home, and people in this county, I think, would be afraid to sit on a jury in this case.”

Rosfeld is on unpaid leave from the East Pittsburgh Police Department. While he awaits trial, he is on house arrest with electronic monitoring.

In August, Rose’s family filed a federal lawsuit against East Pittsburgh, Rosfeld, Mayor Louis Payne and Police Chief Lori Fruncek, alleging wrongful death.

That same month, activists in Pittsburgh objected to a certain judge being assigned in the Rose case, arguing that Court of Common Pleas president Judge Jeffrey A. Manning has close ties with Rosfeld’s attorney.

READ MORE: Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’ sold 725,000 copies on first day

Outrage at Shooting

Back in June, hundreds of demonstrators gathered to protest the death of 17-year-old Antwon Rose, who was shot three times while running away from a vehicle during a traffic stop.

The demonstrators marched onto I-376 and shut it down in both directors for five hours, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. The gathering prompted police in riot gear to make repeated arrest threats if people did not disperse. The group broke up at around 2:30 a.m., clearing the roadway peacefully.