Jury Arrives in Pittsburgh for Rosfeld Trial

Expert Says It Will Be a Close Call for Jury

Joe DeStio
March 18, 2019 - 3:32 pm

Allegheny County Police

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Related: Pittsburgh Sets Restrictions for Rosfeld Trial

PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) – A jury was being bussed to Pittsburgh Monday for opening statements Tuesday in the trial of 30 year old Michael Rosfeld. The former East Pittsburgh police officer is charged with homicide for the death of 17 year old Antwon Rose. The Woodland Hills High School teen was gunned down as he ran, unarmed, from a traffic stop last June.

University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris is an expert on police, law enforcement, and race. He says the standard to win a conviction against a police officer is higher than what it would be against a civilian.

“How would a reasonable, objective officer have acted in this situation knowing that there’s danger and that sometimes split second decision making is called for,” said Harris.

A key piece of evidence in the trial will be cell phone video seeming to show Rosfeld firing multiple times at the African-American teen as he ran, unarmed, from a car. The same car was involved minutes earlier in a drive-by shooting in North Braddock. Another young man has pleaded guilty to being the gunman.

But Harris says the cell video doesn’t tell all. “We have many examples now of where police officers appear to be doing something very incorrect on the video, but it was explained away in the trial and it does not result in a conviction.”

There’s also the matter of whether Rosfeld will take the witness stand in his own defense. Most legal experts agree it is dangerous for a defendant to testify unless it’s viewed as necessary to win acquittal.

Judge Alexander Bicket must also decide if Rosfeld will face just one count of first degree homicide or if the jury will be allowed to decide among several lesser charges including third degree murder and manslaughter.arris.Ha

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