“I can’t shoot someone because in my mind they had a weapon.”

Yesterday the jury issued a verdict of not guilty in the case against officer Michael Rosfeld, the man who shot and killed Antwon Rose. As I followed the trial I noticed that much of what the defense was presenting came from what people thought and what they felt with little focus on what they knew. It brought me back to another high profile case where a 17 year old black boy unjustly lost his life. On November 23, 2012 Michael David Dunn shot into a car and killed Jordan Davis. In the first interview that Dunn had with detectives he made a point to say that he shot his gun because in his mind the occupants of the vehicle had weapons. One of the detectives responded with the most sensible statement I have ever heard; “I can’t shoot someone because in my mind they had a weapon”. What an amazing revelation. It seems some law enforcement officers still belief that it isn’t enough to think it, you need to know the truth before you kill someone that is not an immediate threat to your life. Sadly during the trial here in Pittsburgh the officer stated over and over that he thought he saw a gun and as it turns out those feelings satisfied the jury.

We live in a culture that is relying too much on what they feel rather than what they know. This is pretty much the driving force behind religions, blind faith, no evidence required. Sometimes I wonder if the adults that were indoctrinated as children are even capable of relearning critical thinking skills. If they have gone their entire life believing their future is set in motion by a higher power and that their is a judge higher than man. Will they always be comfortable saying  “well i can see why he felt that way” to justify actions that following the facts should never have happened? Will they say “he did what he had to do” because subconsciously they believe our actions are ultimately out of our control? If you are not able to set aside emotion and deal strictly with facts, can their be justice in the world?

Fact: Antwon Rose was in a car that was involved in a drive-by

Fact: Michael Rosfeld had no proof of this at the time of the traffic stop that resulted in the death of Antwon Rose.

People say that the officer was just doing his job, but was he? During a traffice stop he shot a teenager that was not an immediate threat  three  times in the back, then handcuffed him and left him on the ground as he gasped for breath. He did not feel the need to try to preform life saving measures, he just panicked and left the rest to the officers who arrived several minutes later. All we hear is that he thought he had a gun, he thought he reached for a gun, he thought he saw a gun. But guess what, ANTWON ROSE DID NOT HAVE A GUN. So these feelings he had are why Antwon is dead. People argue that Antwon should not have run from the car and I agree that it was not a wise choice, but running from a traffic stop does not warrant the death penalty. You would think that officer Rosfeld’s feelings at the time shouldn’t be a factor because the jury was able to view video evidence that showed Antwon running away. They could see that he  didn’t reach for anything and he didn’t turn around, in fact the shots came so fast I can’t imagine he’d have had time to. Luckily I don’t have to speculate, there is evidence that we can see and it is plain as day that a defenseless teenager was shot dead as he retreated. So how did a jury of his peers find him not guilty of all possible charges? It is because people become blinded by personal bias and after-the-fact information. I cannot tell you how many people have commented “He wasn’t innocent, he was involved in a drive-by earlier”. There are even people still listing Antwon as the shooter in the drive-by despite (once again) video to the contrary as well as a confession by the real shooter. Others have stated that Antwon had a clip in his pocket at the time of his death and therefore that makes him a criminal and office Rosfeld had the duty to protect himself and others. Yes, he did have the clip in his pocket, but it is a moot point because officer Rosfeld could not have known it was there when he shot and killed Antwon. We live in the United States and whether you like it or not, everyone has the right to a fair trial. The other boys that survived the event will all be charged and unlike officer Rosfeld they will likely serve time for their crimes. Apparently when you have the right combination of judge and jury you are allowed to be the executioner.

I have no idea when or if this epidemic will end, I am ashamed that my hometown has now contributed to the injustice.  All I can say is that I promise to do my part to bring awareness to the state of our society.  My thoughts and my heart are with all of the people that loved Antwon, he will not be forgotten.

R.I.P. Antwon Rose II

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