Editorial: Who won the Michael Rosfeld homicide trial? | TribLIVE.com
Editorials

Editorial: Who won the Michael Rosfeld homicide trial?

925378_web1_PTR-VerdictProtest01032319
Tribune-Review
Protesters listen to speakers at Freedom Corner in the Hill District following the aquital of former East Pittsburgh Police officer Michael Rosfeld, Saturday, March 23, 2019. Rosfeld was charged with homicide in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed, as he fled a felony traffic stop.

No one won.

On Friday, when a jury concluded the four-day homicide trial of Michael Rosfeld with three and a half hours of deliberation and an acquittal, there was no real victory.

Rosfeld didn’t win the case. He just won’t go to jail. He can walk away from the courthouse, but he can’t walk away from what happened when he pulled his gun and fired three bullets. The former East Pittsburgh police officer will be irrevocably linked to the late 17-year-old Antwon Rose II for the rest of his life.

The East Pittsburgh police department didn’t win. The department doesn’t even exist anymore. It was shuttered in November. State police patrol the municipality now.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala didn’t win. His prosecutors took the case to court, but protesters who took to the streets after the not-guilty verdict was rendered put part of the blame on him, chanting “Hey hey, ho ho, Steve Zappala’s got to go!”

The Pittsburgh area didn’t win. The pain and anger that stalked the streets with the protesters Friday night and Saturday show that tensions are still high and wounds are still open.


MORE COVERAGE

Demonstrators march through Pittsburgh day after Rosfeld found not guilty


Rose’s family didn’t win. Their wound will never close because it will bleed anew every time they turn to talk to the child who isn’t there. Every time another black boy or black man dies in dealings with police, the scab will be ripped off. They will learn to live haunted by Rose’s absence and the tragedy that took his place.

And Rose himself didn’t win.

Read the comments on the news stories and talk to people who followed the case, and you hear skepticism. While Rosfeld had his day in court, Rose was convicted by a large part of the population without evidence or cross-examination or deliberation. For some, the drive-by shooting guilty plea of Zaijuan Hester, 18 — the other young man who fled the fateful, fatal traffic stop — was the final nail in Rose’s coffin.

No one wins when someone’s child is still dead. No one wins when part of the population feels vindicated by the verdict and part feels victimized. No one wins when another Rose-Rosfeld could happen again in a stopped heartbeat.

No one wins until we stop seeing the other side as enemies and commit to finding solutions.

Until then, there are only people who survive and people who don’t.

Categories: Opinion | Editorials
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.