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Letters to the editor: Readers weigh in on Rosfeld trial, protests | TribLIVE.com
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: Readers weigh in on Rosfeld trial, protests

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Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Demonstrators protest the acquittal of former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld on Saturday, March 23, 2019 in Oakland.

I’m sorry that another young man died at the hands of the police. However, I am angry at the stupidity of people protesting that they want justice for Antwon Rose. He got justice. Michael Rosfeld was tried and was found not guilty by white and black jurors.

They don’t want justice; they want revenge for the not-guilty verdict. Just because you don’t agree with the verdict does not mean it’s wrong. They are acting like babies — “We didn’t get what we want, so we’re going to protest for a few days and shut down streets.”

I am sick of this. If a jury finds a person not guilty, then why do you still say you want justice? You want your form of justice. You are Americans first, so you should go by the same laws we all have to follow; quit thinking you are so special that you get to tell a jury how they should vote.

Let the boy rest in peace and quit making this sad situation worse with protests and blaming the police.

When you’re pulled over, do not get out of the car and run. If the police say stop, then stop. Children should be raised to respect the law instead of fearing it.

Bob Serena

Vandergrift

•••

Standards for argument concerning the Michael Rosfeld trial have sunk terribly low. Can some people be unaware that to be stopped by a police officer is not the same thing as being accused of a crime, much less being convicted, regardless of one’s skin color? That’s according to the Constitution of the United States, not me.

Do some actually believe that cops enjoy a lower standard of behavior when discharging a firearm than the public they protect? No, police, like teachers, lawyers, journalists and physicians, are considered professionals because they subject themselves to higher-than-usual levels of conduct.

Is it smart to defend Rosfeld by maintaining that a sense of grievance (for low wages or anything else) justifies behavior by police that would be problematic if they were paid better? Think a moment — that could have justified illegal conduct, if there ever was any, by Antwon Rose. Or it might excuse the unknown individual who, after Rosfeld’s acquittal, fired two shots into his lawyer’s office.

Inadequate training of underpaid police is a reason to raise taxes in order to provide better training and higher salaries, not to be understanding when someone charged with the public’s safety shoots a young man three times in the back.

And when certain members of the public, and even a few journalists, habitually refer to all young blacks as gang members, felons, thugs and waste cases — yet call few whites any of those things, even when they’re convicted of actual crimes — then it’s not surprising if racism appears to be driving their analysis.

Eugene V. Torisky Jr.

Latrobe

•••

I would like to know if Mayor Bill Peduto’s administration would also provide me a police escort to block streets, sidewalks and intersections. I expect not to be arrested when I disrupt businesses or need a permit to sit on Grant Avenue. I’ll make and carry a sign, even a bullhorn, if that’s necessary.

Would I get the same treatment and benefits that he’s providing to those protesting the Rosfeld trial if he disagrees with my opinion?

When you put on a mask and block an intersection to get attention, you’re getting it. Some of those people stopped in traffic are not politically active or have not formed strong opinions on such things. Keep it up. Those people are growing frustrated, and you’re creating law-and-order voters and political opponents.

Matt Pergar

Unity

•••

An open letter to protesters:

You have the rights guaranteed by our Constitution in the First Amendment to freedom of speech and to peaceably assemble and to “petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Nowhere is it stated that you have the right to disrupt the conduct of business and to impede the flow of pedestrian and vehicle traffic on public or private sidewalks or roadways. The people in restaurants and drivers on the roads who were intimidated and certainly inconvenienced by your actions this past weekend had nothing to do with the reason for your protests.

I would hope that city police would have had the authority to remove you from places of business and even traffic points. Or, were they told to “stand down” a la Benghazi? Actions like these will result in as many people condemning your cause as there are supporting it.

David Reese

Mt. Lebanon

•••

In a November 2018 pastoral letter titled, “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love — A Pastoral Letter Against Racism,” the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stated that “Racism can also be institutional, when practices or traditions are upheld that treat certain groups of people unjustly. The cumulative effects of personal sins of racism have led to social structures of injustice and violence that makes us all accomplices in racism. We read the headlines that report the killing of unarmed African-Americans by law enforcement officials. In our prisons, the number of inmates of color, notably those who are brown and black, is grossly disproportionate. Despite the great blessings of liberty that this country offers, we must admit the plain truth that for many of our fellow citizens, who have done nothing wrong, interactions with the police are often fraught with fear and even danger.”

In the ongoing wake of the Antwon Rose tragedy, we would do well to reflect on the “plain truth” that the massacre of unarmed African-American teenagers will continue unabated until we get serious about owning, confessing and confronting our own personal racism and our nation’s institutional racism.

Not sure where to start? Start by examining your own heart. Start by asking the question: What if that were my son?

Keith G. Kondrich

Swisshelm Park

•••

As long as we see those who commit crimes as victims, there can never be justice, and these shootings will continue. Does anyone know the names of the true victims — the men who were shot by Zaijuan Hester? I heard the protesters shout Antwon Rose’s name over and over. No one seemed to care about the victims of the drive-by shooting. No one seems to care about that shooting at all.

Michael Rosfeld was on high adrenalin looking for shooters. The car matched. He thought he saw a gun. There were two guns. There was DNA and gunshot residue, but that evidence seemed to be ignored by the crowd who want to turn this into a black boy killed by a white police officer.

More energy should be spent “fixing the community” so these young men are not shooting at each other. Maybe they should consider why this is happening way too often. Stop blaming the police, who are out there every day trying to protect us.

If Rose was a victim, he was a victim of what is wrong in his community. Until we address the real problem, nothing will change. More black young men will die due to the violence aimed at each other, or by police trying to stop it.

Arlene L. Bell

Delmont

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