Some preparing, others bracing, for start of police shooting trial in Pittsburgh
Friends and community members are organizing to support the family of Antwon Rose II during Michael Rosfeld’s trial, arranging logistics like transportation to and from the courthouse, planning meals and taking up a collection to cover other costs, according to posts circulating on social media.
“This is the next thing that comes after protesting, this is the next action — To really support the family,” said Fawn Walker-Montgomery, of McKeesport, who is among those working to coordinate the efforts.
Jasiri X and the local 1Hood Media collective of artists and activists have also been helping to spread the word.
“For us, and I think for those of us that did organizing, this time currently right now is about supporting the family,” Jasiri X said.
He hopes that they’ll be able to walk with the family through this difficult time, but that those who wish to support the family honor their request to avoid protests during the trial, he said.
“Whatever pain I have is incomparable to the pain to Antwon’s mother, father and family,” he said.
Rose’s mother, Michelle Kenney, has publicly asked for no protests during the trial.
“Antwon Rose Jr.’s family has maintained a level of decorum throughout this tragedy that is commendable,” said attorney Fred Rabner, who is representing Rose’s parents in several civil cases. “They would expect that people either protesting or showing support would model their decorum as well as solidarity.”
Whether or not activists or protesters plan to be in the streets during the trial, road restrictions will be in place, according to Pittsburgh police.
The restrictions will affect the streets that make up the perimeter of the courthouse — Grant, Forbes, Ross and Fifth.
Pittsburgh Public Safety spokesman Chris Togneri said those streets will be closed while court is in session, and trial Judge Alexander Bicket has said he intends to hold court all day, until 6 or 7 p.m.
Sidewalks around the courthouse will remain open, Togneri said.
Inside the courthouse, there will be limited number of seats available to the public in Courtroom 323, where the trial will take place, and Courtroom 313, which will be overflow seating with a closed-circuit television feed.
No electronics are permitted in the courtrooms, nor are they permitted on much of the third floor. Several hallways are designated for cell phone use. Food and drink are also not permitted in the courtrooms.
At Woodland Hills, where Rose was a student, counselors and staff at the high school will be prepared to meet with students during and after the trial if they need support, Principal Phillip Woods said.
Rose was 17 and a senior at Woodland Hills High School when he was killed.
Other than offering support, Woods said, no other special arrangements have been made.