Michael Rosfeld, East Pittsburgh deny liability for death of Antwon Rose
Attorneys for East Pittsburgh and its former police officer, Michael Rosfeld, denied any wrongdoing in the death of Antwon Rose II, contending in court filings that Rose caused his own death by way of his actions.
Rose’s death was “caused by his own willful, malicious and criminal misconduct,” attorneys for the borough wrote in a response to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Rose’s estate last year.
According to the borough’s response, it was Rose’s “negligence, carelessness and reckless disregard for the rights of others” that left the teen dead, not any civil rights violations as the lawsuit has alleged.
Responses from attorneys for Rosfeld and the borough were filed Tuesday.
Rosfeld, who in March was acquitted of homicide, shot and killed Rose, 17, on June 19, 2018, as he ran from a felony traffic stop on Grandview Avenue in East Pittsburgh. Rosfeld stopped the gold Chevy Cruze because it matched the description of a car involved in a drive-by shooting minutes earlier in nearby North Braddock. Rosfeld ordered the driver out of the car, and Rose and another teenage passenger ran. Rosfeld opened fire.
The family’s lawsuit alleged that Rosfeld’s commands were aggressive and hostile, and it contends that as Rose got out of the car, he briefly raised his hands. Rosfeld’s attorneys denied such allegations in their response, arguing that Rose “flung open the front passenger door” and did not show his hands. They also denied the allegation that Rosfeld had his weapon trained on Rose at the time.
Rosfeld opened fire, attorneys said, because Rose “extended his arm toward (Rosfeld) in a manner that caused (Rosfeld) to reasonably perceive that he was pointing a weapon at him,” according to the court filing.
The Rose family’s lawsuit seeks a jury trial and demands compensation for, among other things, “loss of income both past and future income potential.”
Attorneys for both Rosfeld and the borough noted that Rose would not have provided any support to his family if he’d survived “to the extent that he would have been convicted and incarcerated” for his alleged role in the drive-by that preceded his death.