Pitt lawyers say East Pittsburgh never requested Michael Rosfeld’s employee file from Pitt
The borough of East Pittsburgh hired Michael Rosfeld as a police officer without asking for employment records from at least one of his previous departments, according to a civil court filing last week in a lawsuit related to his killing of Antwon Rose.
Rose’s parents — Michelle Kenney and Antwon Rose Sr. — filed a lawsuit late last year against the University of Pittsburgh, contending the university is partially responsible for their son’s death by not firing Rosfeld when he worked for campus police between 2012 and early 2018.
The lawsuit further claimed that the university failed to divulge alleged blemishes on Rosfeld’s employment record.
In a filing March 7 by Pitt attorney’s Jonathan Marcus and Jeremy Engle, the university denies most claims made in the Rose family’s lawsuit but goes on to say that “East Pittsburgh did not request from the University a copy of Rosfeld’s employee file” and “East Pittsburgh hired Rosfeld without reviewing Rosfeld’s employee file maintained by the University.”
Attorneys for the university also contend that Rosfeld “did not engage in any violent misconduct” while he was a campus officer, and they note that he hadn’t worked for the university in the five months leading up to the June 19 shooting.
Rosfeld opened fire on Rose and another teenager as they fled a felony traffic stop in East Pittsburgh. He stopped the car because it matched the description of the suspect vehicle in a drive-by shooting minutes earlier in North Braddock.
East Pittsburgh officials could not be reached for comment. A notice on the borough website indicated that their offices are closed on Fridays.
Rosfeld worked as a part-time officer for Oakmont from 2011 to 2013 and worked for less than a year as a part-timer for Harmar about five years ago.
Harmar Chief Jason Domaratz said in an email that East Pittsburgh officials did not reach out to his department prior to hiring Rosfeld. He pointed out that Rosfeld worked there for only about five months.
Oakmont Chief Mike Ford could not immediately be reached for comment.
Rose’s family also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against East Pittsburgh council, Mayor Louis Payne and former police Chief Lori Fruncek. East Pittsburgh police disbanded late last year.
That lawsuit, in part, alleges the borough had no process in place to properly vet Rosfeld before hiring him and should have known about previous incidents in which he had been involved as an officer elsewhere.
Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, [email protected] or via Twitter .