Family of Antwon Rose has a long road to justice, attorneys say
The legal team for Antwon Rose’s family was outraged Wednesday at news that the police officer charged with homicide for shooting and killing the 17-year-old was out of jail.
Rose’s family stood with the attorneys as they held a news conference inside the Allegheny County Courthouse.
Lawyers said charges against Michael Rosfeld, an East Pittsburgh officer, were only the first of many hurdles they will need to clear in order to achieve justice for Antwon Rose.
“In fact, we’re already dealing with one now: How do we feel as a family and as a legal team about the fact that the individual charged with homicide was placed on $250,000 unsecured bond, which means that he will go home without paying a dollar out of his pocket,” said Fred G. Rabner, attorney for the family.
The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office opposed the judge’s bail decision but initially decided not to contest it further.
“We vigorously argued against bond this morning,” said Mike Manko, a spokesman for District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. “We do think it was an improper ruling by the magistrate.”
Zappala’s office brought those concerns to President Judge Jeffrey A. Manning, according to a statement issued later that day.
“Our office informed Judge Manning of our concerns and Judge Manning then issued an order reinforcing the unsecured $250,000 bond while adding the condition of electronic home monitoring,” the statement said.
DA Zappala was informed by senior staff that there may have been a jurisdictional issue with the bond was set on the defendant this morning. Our office informed Judge Manning who then issued an order reinforcing the original bond while adding electronic home monitoring.
— AlleghenyCountyDA (@AlleghenyCoDA) June 27, 2018
S. Lee Merritt, who is also representing the family, called Rosfeld’s release Wednesday “inappropriate.”
“When you have murder one, to have no bail, to have put up no property, to have to offer no cash, is very, very unique and it shows a system that is bent in favor of law enforcement,” Merritt said.
As the attorneys spoke, Zappala was detailing the charges against Rosfeld to members of the media four floors above in the Gold Room of the courthouse.
Zappala opened his remarks on the case by saying he had just met with Rose’s family. Zappala called the family “wonderful people.”
Merritt said they discussed with Zappala the option of turning over the case to the attorney general’s office or some other oversight body. Merritt said Zappala conveyed to them he was open to the idea.
“And we as a family and as a legal team will discuss it further and we will do whatever we feel is in the best interest of Antwon Rose,” Merritt said.
During his news conference, Zappala was asked if he had offered to recuse himself from the case while talking to the family this morning. Zappala said he hadn’t.