The parents of Antwon Rose II, an unarmed teenager shot and killed by former East Pittsburgh police Officer Michael Rosfeld, have sued the University of Pittsburgh claiming it failed to disclose Rosfeld’s alleged misconduct while he was a university cop.
The lawsuit filed on behalf of Michelle Kenney and Antwon Rose Sr. alleges negligence and misrepresentation on the part of the university. It contends that since Rosfeld’s October 2012 hiring by Pitt police, he “continuously performed false arrests, assaulted individuals and falsified records.”
Attorneys with Rabner Law Offices, who are representing the parents, initially argued in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court that they were entitled to pre-complaint discovery — evidence that plaintiffs believe will be necessary for filing the lawsuit. Judge Robert Colville denied the motion.
“Despite Rosfeld’s overzealous and combative behaviors, unbecoming of a police officer, (Pitt) failed to discipline him — whether counseling, suspension or termination,” the lawsuit alleged.
Attorneys for the university could not immediately be reached for comment
Rosfeld and the university had previously faced a lawsuit filed by two men who said the officer assaulted and falsely arrested them during his time with the university police.
Jacob Schilling and Timothy Riley filed the lawsuit in July, two weeks after the East Pittsburgh shooting. It claimed that Rosfeld falsely arrested the pair outside Oakland’s Garage Door Saloon in December 2017. Riley, Schilling and two others were asked to leave the bar — without reason, according to the lawsuit — and were allegedly accosted and arrested by Rosfeld. Those charges were later dropped.
That lawsuit was dropped last week. The Rose family’s lawsuit mentions the Garage Door incident.
“This is only one example of the many instances where Rosfeld falsified documents, criminal complaints, arrest warrants and other behaviors that were overzealous and unbecoming of which resulted in the filing of criminal charges,” the lawsuit alleged.
The lawsuit contends that Rosfeld’s leaving the university police in January was a direct result of the false allegations in the Oakland arrest, and he was “permitted by (the university) to resign and/or (be) fired …”
The complaint said that by allegedly allowing Rosfeld to leave Pitt quietly, the university “avoided raising red flags to future employers,” and he was easily able to gain employment with the East Pittsburgh police, where he was working as an officer when he shot and killed Rose.
The Rose lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of money in damages.
Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, mgu[email protected] or via Twitter @meganguzaTrib.