US police officer charged in fatal shooting of unarmed teen

East Pittsburgh officer charged with criminal homicide for shooting 17-year-old Antwon Rose who was fleeing police.

Antwon Rose shooting
Since Tuesday's shooting, hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets of the Pittsburgh area [Justin Merriman/Getty Images/AFP]

A US police officer has been charged with criminal homicide for killing an unarmed black teenager last week, an incident that had sparked outrage and daily protests across the city of Pittsburgh. 

East Pittsburgh Officer Michael Rosfeld was arraigned on Wednesday morning for the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Antwon Rose, who had fled a traffic stop after being pulled over on suspicion of involvement in a drive-by shooting.

The 30-year-old officer, who had been sworn in on the night of the shooting, but had been working for the East Pittsburgh police department for three weeks, was released on $250,000 bail and now faces a July 6 hearing. 

Roseburg was investigating a shooting in nearby North Braddock when he pulled over the car in which Rose was a passenger on the night of June 19 in the Pittsburgh suburb. 

According to police, Rose, who was unarmed, fled the vehicle and was shot three times by Rosfeld. Police declined to say whether Rose was shot in the back.

‘Three shots in the back?’

The killing of Rose reignited the call to end what activists and community members call institutionalised racism among US police forces.

Since the shooting on Tuesday, hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets of the Pittsburgh area, condemning the police shooting.

The demonstrators shut down several streets in the state capital on Friday as they chanted, “Three shots in the back, how do you justify that?”

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf called the video of Rose’s shooting “deeply disturbing” according to local media and said, “Like in all police-involved shootings, there must be a thorough, swift and transparent review and investigation of his death.”

Police said they also have video of the nearby incident that prompted Rosfeld to pull over the vehicle with Rose.

According to the Washington Post’s Fatal Force database, at least 495 people have been killed by police this year. The Post found that more than 980 people were killed by police in 2017.

The Guardian identified more than 1,090 police killings the previous year.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies