Charges came quickly after an East Pittsburgh Police officer gunned down a Black teenager, which raised questions about the apparent delays in similar police involved shootings in Sacramento and Minneapolis. Politics may be getting in the way of justice.
Allegheny County officials in Pennsylvania announced on Tuesday morning that they had charged Officer Michael Rosfeld with criminal homicide in the June 19 killing of 17-year-old Antwon Rose, CBS News Pittsburgh reported.
Rosfeld opened fired on Rose as he ran away after a traffic stop, striking the teenager three times in the back.
Meanwhile, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office started an independent investigation into the Sacramento police killing of Stephon Clark on March 27. Two officers gunned down Clark, a 22-year-old Black man, in a hail of at least 20 shots on March 18 in his grandmother’s backyard. The cops said they believed he had a weapon, which turned out to be a cellphone.
There are conflicting autopsy reports. The family’s independent investigation concluded that the cops shot Clark eight times—six of the bullets lodging in his back. By contrast, the county coroner’s report said the first bullet struck the front of Clark’s body, which would corroborate the official police account of the shooting.
Still, it’s been more than three months without a decision about a grand jury hearing or charges against the cops.
Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert has a troubling history with cases of police shooting Black men. However, there are also question marks and doubts about Becerra. Like Schubert, Becerra is up for election this year. It appears that personal political interest could be getting in the way of a volatile situation. The shooting ignited a storm of demonstrations, as protesters demanded justice for Clark.
Protestors in Minneapolis are once again demanding justice in a high-profile police involved killing of a Black man. Cops shot multiple times at Thurman Blevins, 31, on June 23 as he fled from officers.
Hennepin County District Attorney Mike Freeman, like Becerra and Schubert, is up for election in a volatile situation. Freeman is facing harsh criticism from Black activists who have pointed out that Freeman was quick to indict the Black police officer Mohamed Noor, who in 2017 shot and killed Justine Ruszczyk, a 40-year-old white Australian woman after she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault near her home. Noor was charge with third-degree murder.
Yet, Freeman declined to file charges against white officers involved in the 2015 police killing of Jamar Clark, a 24-year-old Black man who was unarmed.
In an election year, it appears that Freeman could be making political calculations to keep his job.