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Not guilty verdict in Rosfeld trial sparks demonstrations in Downtown, East Liberty

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Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Antwon Rose II supporters protest the jury’s verdict after it was announced as not guilty in the Michael Rosfeld case on Friday, March 22, 2019 in downtown Pittsburgh.
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Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Protesters react to the not guilty verdict in the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh Police officer Michael Rosfeld, Friday, March 22, 2019, in East Liberty. Rosfeld is charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed, as he fled a felony traffic stop.
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AP
Former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld became emotional when he took the stand in his own defense during the third day of his trial.
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Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Antwon Rose II supporters protest the jury’s verdict after it was announced to be found not guilty in the Michael Rosfeld case on Friday, March 22, 2019 in downtown Pittsburgh.
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Natasha Lindstrom | Tribune-Review
Downtown Pittsburgh now quiet, but a peaceful Antwon Rose demonstration has begun in the city’s East Liberty neighborhood. About 300 people were marching and chanting near Highland and Penn avenues.
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Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Security patrols the hallways of Allegheny County Courthouse following the announcement that a verdict has been reached in the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh Police officer Michael Rosfeld, Friday, March 22, 2019. Rosfeld is charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed, as he fled a felony traffic stop.
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Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Michelle Kenney, mother of Antwon Rose II, goes through security outside the courtroom after it was announced a verdict had been reached in the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh Police officer Michael Rosfeld, Friday, March 22, 2019. Rosfeld is charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed, as he fled a felony traffic stop.
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Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Antwon Rose II supporters protest the jury’s verdict after it was announced to be found not guilty in the Michael Rosfeld case on Friday, March 22, 2019 in downtown Pittsburgh.
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Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Rose family attorney, S. Lee Merritt, speaks with media during the fourth day of the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh Police officer Michael Rosfeld, Friday, March 22, 2019. Rosfeld is charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed, as he fled a felony traffic stop.
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Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Rose family attorney, S. Lee Merritt, speaks with media during the fourth day of the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh Police officer Michael Rosfeld, Friday, March 22, 2019. Rosfeld is charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed, as he fled a felony traffic stop.
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Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
A man writes in chalk on the Grant Street median outside the Allegheny County Courthouse as deliberations in the Michael Rosfeld case begin on Friday, March 22, 2019 in Downtown Pittsburgh.
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Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Kyra Jamison, second from the left, heads towards security prior to the fourth day of the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld, Friday, March 22, 2019, at the Allegheny County Courthouse, Downtown. Kyra Jamison, second from the left, heads toward security prior to the fourth day of the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld, Friday, March 22, 2019, at the Allegheny County Courthouse, Downtown.
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Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
A memorial to Antwon Rose II is seen outside of Allegheny County Courthouse during the third day of the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh Police officer Michael Rosfeld, Thursday, March 21, 2019. Rosfeld is charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed, as he fled a felony traffic stop.
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Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Michelle Kenney, mother of Antwon Rose II, wipes a tear from her eye during a brief press conference in the lobby of the Allegheny County Courthouse following the third day of the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh Police officer Michael Rosfeld, Thursday, March 21, 2019. Rosfeld is charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed, as he fled a felony traffic stop.
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Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Michael Rosfeld’s attorney, Patrick Thomassey, speaks during a brief press conference inside of Allegheny County Courthouse during the fourth day of the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh Police officer Michael Rosfeld, Friday, March 22, 2019. Rosfeld is charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed, as he fled a felony traffic stop.
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Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Rose family attorney, S. Lee Merritt, speaks with media during the fourth day of the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh Police officer Michael Rosfeld, Friday, March 22, 2019. Rosfeld is charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed, as he fled a felony traffic stop.
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Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
The mother of Antwon Rose II, Michelle Kenney, along with prosecutors, exit the Allegheny County Courthouse after the jury’s verdict was announced as not guilty in the Michael Rosfeld case on Friday, March 22, 2019 in downtown Pittsburgh.
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Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Rose family attorney, S. Lee Merritt, and Michelle Kenney, mother of Antwon Rose II, walk towards members of the media following the closing arguments in the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh Police officer Michael Rosfeld, Friday, March 22, 2019. Rosfeld is charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed, as he fled a felony traffic stop.
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Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Rose family attorney, S. Lee Merritt, and Michelle Kenney, mother of Antwon Rose II, walk towards members of the media following the closing arguments in the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh Police officer Michael Rosfeld, Friday, March 22, 2019. Rosfeld is charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed, as he fled a felony traffic stop.
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Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Michelle Kenney, mother of Antwon Rose II, speaks to members of the media following the closing arguments in the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh Police officer Michael Rosfeld, Friday, March 22, 2019. Rosfeld is charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed, as he fled a felony traffic stop.
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Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Michelle Kenney, mother of Antwon Rose II, speaks to members of the media following the closing arguments in the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh Police officer Michael Rosfeld, Friday, March 22, 2019. Rosfeld is charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed, as he fled a felony traffic stop.
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Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Protesters comfort each other following the not guilty verdict in the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld on Friday, March 22, 2019, in East Liberty. Rosfeld was charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed as he fled a felony traffic stop.
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Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Protesters demonstrate outside the Allegheny County Courthouse following the not guilty verdict in the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld on Friday, March 22, 2019. Rosfeld was charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed as he fled a felony traffic stop.
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Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Bartenders show solidarity with protesters demonstrating inside of Ace Hotel, in East Liberty, while domesticating following the not guilty verdict in the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh Police officer Michael Rosfeld, Friday, March 22, 2019. Rosfeld is charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed, as he fled a felony traffic stop.
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Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Protesters fill Ace Hotel in East Liberty while demonstrating following the not guilty verdict in the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld on Friday, March 22, 2019. Rosfeld was charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed as he fled a felony traffic stop.
916320_web1_20190322nsRosfeld30
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Protesters react to the not guilty verdict in the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld on Friday, March 22, 2019, in East Liberty. Rosfeld was charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed as he fled a felony traffic stop.
916320_web1_20190322nsRosfeld26
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Protesters react to the not guilty verdict in the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld on Friday, March 22, 2019, in East Liberty. Rosfeld was charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed as he fled a felony traffic stop.
916320_web1_20190322nsRosfeld37
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Protesters react to the not guilty verdict in the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld on Friday, March 22, 2019, in East Liberty. Rosfeld was charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed as he fled a felony traffic stop.
916320_web1_20190322nsRosfeld38
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Protesters react to the not guilty verdict in the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld on Friday, March 22, 2019, in East Liberty. Rosfeld was charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed as he fled a felony traffic stop.
916320_web1_20190322nsRosfeld41
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Activist Christian Carter reads a poem written by Antwon Rose II following the not guilty verdict in the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld on Friday, March 22, 2019. Rosfeld was charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed as he fled a felony traffic stop.
916320_web1_20190322nsRosfeld27
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Protesters react to the not guilty verdict in the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld on Friday, March 22, 2019, in East Liberty. Rosfeld was charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed as he fled a felony traffic stop.
916320_web1_20190322nsRosfeld32
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Protesters react to the not guilty verdict in the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld on Friday, March 22, 2019, in East Liberty. Rosfeld was charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed as he fled a felony traffic stop.
916320_web1_20190322nsRosfeld43
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Protesters demonstrate outside of Allegheny County Courthouse following the not guilty verdict in the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld on Friday, March 22, 2019. Rosfeld was charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed as he fled a felony traffic stop.
916320_web1_20190322nsRosfeld34
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Protesters fill Ace Hotel in East Liberty while demonstrating following the not guilty verdict in the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld on Friday, March 22, 2019. Rosfeld was charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed as he fled a felony traffic stop.
916320_web1_20190322nsRosfeld42
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Activist Christian Carter leads a group of protesters into the streets outside of Allegheny County Courthouse following the not guilty verdict in the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld on Friday, March 22, 2019. Rosfeld was charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed as he fled a felony traffic stop.
916320_web1_20190322nsRosfeld40
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Activist Christian Carter is comforted following the not guilty verdict in the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld on Friday, March 22, 2019. Rosfeld was charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed as he fled a felony traffic stop.
916320_web1_20190322nsRosfeld31
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Protesters react to the not guilty verdict in the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld on Friday, March 22, 2019, in East Liberty. Rosfeld was charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed as he fled a felony traffic stop.
916320_web1_20190322nsRosfeld28
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Protesters react to the not guilty verdict in the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld on Friday, March 22, 2019, in East Liberty. Rosfeld was charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed as he fled a felony traffic stop.

Former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld was acquitted Friday night in the shooting death of Antwon Rose II, sparking demonstrations in Downtown Pittsburgh and East Liberty.

The verdict was announced after about 3.5 hours of deliberations. Rosfeld faced one count of homicide.

He was on trial for shooting Rose three times as Rose ran from a June 19 traffic stop in East Pittsburgh. Rose and Zaijuan Hester were passengers in a vehicle suspected in a drive-by shooting minutes earlier. Hester pleaded guilty last week to the drive-by shooting.

•••

Demonstrators gathered Downtown shortly after the verdict was announced and then moved to East Liberty.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. issued a statement shortly after 10 p.m.

“I have always believed the criminal justice system belongs to the people, and the best example of that is when 12 men and women sit in a room and deliberate how best to pass judgment onto one of their peers, indeed that is the foundation on which the entire criminal justict system is built.

“While I respectfully disagree with their verdict, it is the people of this commonwealth who decide guilty or not guilty, and they have spoken to this matter.

“In the interest of justice, we must continue to do our job of bringing charges in situations where charges are appropriate, regardless of the role an individual holds in the community.”

•••

9:31 p.m.

Defense attorney Patrick Thomassey addressed reporters after the verdict was read.

Thomassey pointed out that “this was not an all white jury.”

“There were African Americans on this jury,” he said. “They listened to the facts, they listened to the law, and, in my opinion, they rendered the correct verdict.”

He said the case had nothing to do with race.

“Some people in the city have made it that way, and it’s sad,” Thomassey said. “Mike Rosfeld was doing his job. He did his job, and it had nothing to do with the color of anybody that he was arrested. And I’m glad the case is over and I hope everybody moves on with their lives, including Mr. Rosfeld and including me.”

Thomassey said Rosfeld has maintained that he was “trying to do what he was supposed to do.”

“What if this was happening your neighborhood?” he said. “Are you supposed to let them go? Really? That’s not what we want. We want to be safe in our homes. We want the police officers to make us safe and that’s exactly what happened here.”

Of Rosfeld, Thomassey said “He’s a good man. He’s said to me so any times, ‘Patrick, this had nothing to do with the kid’s color. I was doing what I was trained to do.’

“He wasn’t pulling them over for going through a stop sign. He was pulling them over for shooting.”

Asked about Rose’s family, Thomassey said: “I feel horrible for the family, both families here. Why do kids get out and run? I don’t know. There’s so much more to this case that you don’t know and I’m never going to divulge about what happened leading up to this. Because the judge ruled it was inadmissible. But I can tell you it’s not all what you saw. There was so much more to it.”

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said via Twitter late Friday that he grieves “with Antwon’s family, friends, and the entire community.”

•••

Here are updates from earlier in the day Friday:

The homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld entered its fourth day on Friday, when the defense rested its case. Closing arguments wrapped up shortly before 4 p.m.

Common Pleas Judge Alexander Bicket presided over the trial. Chief Trial Deputy District Attorney Daniel Fitzsimmons and Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Fodi prosecuted the case. Rosfeld faced a single count of homicide that gave the jury the option of convicting him of first-, second- or third-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter.

Rosfeld took the stand Thursday as did a use-of-force expert, whose testimony wrapped up Friday morning before the defense rested.


•••

5:15 p.m.

Rose’s mother, Michelle Kenney, addressed the media after the jury was given the case.

“I miss my son, and he’s not here,” she said. “Antwon wasn’t afforded the opportunity of a trial, even to defend himself. All of those rights were taken away from him by one person, and it wasn’t the jury in this court – it was an individual. He decided he wanted to be the judge and jury in a situation that he didn’t even know if a crime had been committed, and now my son is gone.”

“He,” she said of Rosfeld, “is still here.”

Kenney called Fodi’s closing statement “awesome” and said she feels some relief.

“I was really concerned during the trial that he wouldn’t be able to tie in all the things that we felt relevant,” she said.

•••

3:50 p.m.

Fodi said Rosfeld acted as the judge, jury and executioner the day he shot Rose.

The assistant district attorney wrapped up Rosfeld’s trial with a 30-minute closing argument to the jury.

Fodi said sometimes things don’t go as planned. Sometimes a teenager runs.

“Is it foolish? Yes,” he said. “Does it deserve death? No. Was it reasonable? Absolutely not.”

Fodi pulled up the widely viewed surveillance footage that captured the North Braddock drive-by shooting, pointing out the tan or gold four-door car with tinted windows and aftermarket wheels that pulled to the intersection of Jones and Baldridge avenues seconds before the gold Chevy Cruze at the center of the case pulled to the intersection.

“What do you know about the occupants of this car?” he asked, pointing to the other car, not the one with Rose and Hester inside.

Fodi said that car could easily have been mistaken for the car suspected in the drive-by shooting. It had all the descriptors, he said. What if it had been pulled over instead, he asked. Maybe the driver gets out, he said, but there’s a teenager inside as well.

“Maybe he had some weed, maybe he was just scared,” Fodi said. “He runs away and gets three shots to the back.”

He told jurors there was no way to know the culpability of anyone in any car Rosfeld pulled over.

He said escape doesn’t happen when a suspect is 30 feet away. You set up a perimeter, he said. You search and bring in K-9s. Hester didn’t get away, he said. He was apprehended later.

“That’s due process,” Fodi said. “We don’t shoot first and ask questions later. We investigate.”

Fodi pointed out inconsistencies in Rosfeld’s explanations. Rosfeld was overheard by a witness saying, “Why did he do that, why did he take that out of his pocket?” Fodi compared that to his statement to investigators indicating he’d seen the teenager raise his arm toward him.

“You can’t have it both ways,” Fodi said.

He referenced Rosfeld’s testimony that he’d still been trying to get the driver of the Cruze, Trevon Robertson, to the ground when Hester and Rose ran. Then he pulled up a witness video showing Robertson on the ground for at least 10 seconds before shots were fired.

He told jurors that Rosfeld was trained on Rose the entire time – all the shots were back to front, as testified to by the medical examiner, and each shot landed.

Fodi said Thomassey has offered up nothing but scare tactics, waving around the guns from the car with extended clips “because they’re scary.”

Fodi began his closing arguments with a mantra of the criminal justice system, the Fifth Amendment: “No man can be deprived of his life, liberty or property except by judgment of his peers or the law of the land.”

It was emblazoned on the wall of the Dauphin County courtroom where Fodi, Fitzsimmons, Bicket and Thomassey interviewed jurors for the case.

Rosfeld, he said, took that upon himself on June 19.

Fodi asked jurors to return a murder conviction.

“This is not reasonable police work by an officer,” he said.

•••

3:20 p.m.

Thomassey has finished his closing argument.

Thomassey asked jurors to think about what was going through the minds of Rose and Hester as they fled the drive-by shooting during his 35-minute closing argument. They would be talking about what to do with the gun used in the shooting and how to get home, Thomassey said.

“These guys, they’re all from this area,” he said, adding they knew where to stop to be able to access a tunnel and escape arrest.

“If Rose and Hester didn’t do anything wrong, why did they run?” Thomassey said. “They knew what they did and they wanted to get away.”

Rosfeld followed police protocol in stopping the car.

“Under the law, he doesn’t have to see a gun,” Thomassey said. “He thought he did, maybe he did, I don’t know.”

He questioned the recollection of eyewitnesses and the reliability of video shown to jurors, compared to Rosfeld’s testimony.

“Mike Rosfeld is 8 yards away,” Thomassey said, holding up a gun in the courtroom and showing jurors the distance. “Who had a better view of what was happening?”

He told jurors that prosecutors did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Rosfeld was unjustified in firing shots at Rose.

“The standard is what a reasonable police officer would do under the circumstances that he faced,” Thomassey said.

About 100 people are seated in an overflow courtroom to listen to closing arguments.

•••

3 p.m.

Closing arguments have begun.

•••

1:05 p.m.

The start of closing argument has been pushed back to 1:30 p.m.

S. Lee Merritt, an attorney for the Rose family, gave his views on the defense’s case and what the jury has to work with.

“If they focus on what they saw in that video and whether or not they ever saw a threat – whether or not it was reasonable for Mr. Rosfeld to imagine a threat – then I believe they come back with a verdict of guilty,” he said.

He said he expects Rose’s mother, Michelle Kenney, to speak Friday afternoon, though he noted that she was never subject to the now-lifted gag order. He said the family was never in favor of the gag order.

“Justice is supposed to take place in the open,” Merritt said. “Antwon Rose can’t speak for himself. Mr. Rosfeld silenced him with three bullets. He will never be able to speak for himself again, so the only person that can speak for him is his family.”

•••

12:28 p.m.

Thomassey addressed the media during the court’s first recess after he successfully argued for the gag order to be lifted.

He said he argued for that because “I’m tired of this.” He’d made the same argument Wednesday morning, a day after Merritt held a news conference on the courthouse steps.

He said prosecutors failed to make their case, which is why he again unsuccessfully requested for a judgment of acquittal.

“If a person commits a violent felony … and you have reason to believe the person is armed and running away, the law says you can shoot him,” Thomassey said. “He doesn’t have to point the gun at you or threaten you because your duty as a police officer is to stop him from getting into the community and committing another felony.”

Thomassey wondered why prosecutors did not call Robertson, the driver of the Chevrolet Cruze that contained Rose and Hester before the shooting.

“They wouldn’t have liked what he said,” he said. “He’s going to say they’re driving over there for the drive-by and Hester says to Rose, ‘Is that him?’ and Rose says, ‘Yes,’ and they shoot him. They call that conspiracy. They call that complicity, and if Mr. Rose survived, he’d be sitting in jail right beside Mr. Hester, who pleaded guilty last week.”

He also expressed doubts as to whether Rosfeld would have faced charges if someone had been killed in the drive-by shooting.

“Ask yourself this,” he said. “If Hester had been a better shot and these two guys are dead, that they did the drive-by with, and Mike Rosfeld does what happened on June 19, would they have charged him? He just shot a person who was involved in killing two people right up the road. I don’t think we’d be here. That’s just me.”

•••

12:15 p.m.

Thomassey is addressing the media.

•••

11:10 a.m.

The defense rested its case at 11 a.m.

Use-of-force expert Cliff Jobe spent about an hour on the witness stand Friday morning. At the conclusion of his testimony, Jobe said he felt Rosfeld acted appropriately.

“I don’t know that he did anything wrong at all sir, he was following his training,” Jobe said in response to a question from Thomassey.

The defense presented two witness in its case – Rosfeld and Jobe.

Under cross examination Jobe testified that a person fleeing from a police officer could be a threat.

“Is a person running away from you aggressive?” Fodi, the assistant district attorney, asked.

“It could be, yes,” Jobe replied.

Jobe testified about the training municipal officers receive in Pennsylvania and a report he authored for the defense. Jobe did not interview Rosfeld for that report to maintain impartiality. He said he reviewed Rosfeld’s statements to police to come to a conclusion that the former officer’s actions were appropriate.

For high-risk traffic stops, police officers are trained to wait for backup – a minimum of four officers for one person in a vehicle, but all situations can be assessed differently, Jobe testified.

“It is usually better, if available, to have multiple officers on any type of stop that would be high risk,” he said.

But in small communities, officers don’t always have that luxury, he said.

“The defendant had the ability to seize this vehicle before anything else happened regarding an active shooting situation, and that’s the decision he made at the time,” Jobe testified.

•••

10:02 a.m.

Bicket dismissed juror No. 2, who was replaced by an alternate. No reason was given for the dismissal.

The dismissed juror is a 39-year-old white woman who was a former librarian and whose father worked in law enforcement for 25 years.

This is the second juror to be replaced with an alternate. Juror No. 1 was replaced before the trial began.

•••

9:30 a.m.

Bicket lifted the gag order on the case at Thomassey’s request.

Thomassey referred to Merritt, who has made statements to the media on a couple occasions since the trial started, in requesting the order be lifted. Thomassey told Bicket he believed Merritt’s comments were intended for jurors, who are sequestered.

“Some attorneys have thumbed their nose at the court,” Thomassey said. “I don’t think it’s right, I think he should know better.”

Bicket ruled in his favor.

Megan Guza and Renatta Signorini are Tribune-Review staff writers. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, mguza@tribweb.com or via Twitter @meganguzaTrib. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@tribweb.com or via Twitter @byrenatta.

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