Protests disrupt Pittsburgh, Homestead; 4 arrested |

Protests disrupt Pittsburgh, Homestead; 4 arrested

Hundreds of people protesting the police shooting of Antwon Rose marched in Downtown Pittsburgh as a smaller group blocked the Homestead Grays Bridge several miles away, causing it to be shut down for an hour.

The protest ended about midnight with demonstrators vowing to return to the streets Saturday.

It marked the third straight night of demonstrations since Rose was shot by a police officer Tuesday evening in East Pittsburgh.

The were at least four arrests of protesters in Homestead on Friday night and a motorist was arrested on a summary charge in Pittsburgh for taunting the crowd on East Ohio Street.

One exit of PNC Park on Pittsburgh’s North Shore was shut down for a time while the Pirates baseball game was in progress as the demonstrators gathered near the home plate gate.

And Pittsburgh Police confirmed early Friday that a black sedan drove through a group of protesters on the North Shore and drove off.

No injuries were reported. Police are searching for the vehicle, believed to be a Mercedes.

Friday night’s protest in Downtown Pittsburgh started at Port Authority’s Wood Street T station. A group marched down Liberty Avenue holding a banner reading “Fire Killer Cops” that stretched nearly as wide as the major Downtown artery.

When a car tried to drive through the protest, the group linked arms forming a wall, chanting “no justice no peace” until an officer helped the man turn around, followed by a Port Authority bus.

The group made its way to the Roberto Clemente Bridge, getting to the gates of PNC Park about 20 minutes before the first pitch of the Pirates game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

An officer told a Tribune-Review reporter that police would not try to stop the crowd from entering the stadium.

“They’re going to go wherever they want to go,” the officer said.

Demonstrators didn’t go in.

RELATED: Read all of TribLIVE’s coverage on the Antwon Rose case.

The demonstration got testy when a man on a megaphone yelled something about how people shouldn’t run from police.

Rose was shot and killed Tuesday night after police pulled over a car in which he was riding. East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld shot Rose as he ran from the car, authorities said.

A group of protesters broke away from the demonstration and chased the man with the megaphone.

“Don’t do it to yourself,” one protest leader yelled at the group.

“Stay focused, think of why you’re here, stay focused,” another woman yelled.

It worked. Nobody from the protest group touched the heckler.

The man with the megaphone continued to walk away from PNC Park, toward a row of restaurants on Federal Street, as media and a couple of protestors followed.

Several people came out of restaurants and asked what was going on.

“Police! Police! Handle this!” one woman yelled.

The group eventually moved on, weaving through the North Side. Protesters returned Downtown via the Rachel Carson Bridge.

Once they got to the Downtown side of the bridge, protesters formed a circle around all the 17-year-olds in the group.

The 17-year-old Rose was a Woodland Hills High School honors student, and unarmed at the time of the shooting.

The group then made its way to Market Square.

One woman, a former classmate of Rose, broke down in tears while speaking to the crowd in Market Square.

“You see how it went from raining to this? That’s him,” she said noting the sunshine of the evening.

Throughout the night, a group of Pittsburgh Police officers on motorcycles and in squad cars provided an escort in front of the protest group to make sure it did not come in to contact with other cars.

Protesters stopped chanting and marching several times to observe moments of silence and to read a poem Rose wrote for an honor’s class two years ago titled, “I am not what you think.”

The group marched on to Route 28 for about 15 minutes, then, after talking to police, organizers directed the group on to the East Ohio Street exit.

The group continued to march along the North Side.

The home plate exit at PNC Park was closed for about 30 minutes as the protesters gathered outside. All the other exits remained open. It was a post-game Fireworks Night, so some of the crowd left after the extra-innings game and some stayed.

No confrontations or other trouble was reported there.

However, as the Pirates games was letting out, several protestors near PNC Park were hit by a car that attempted to part them as he drove through.

The incident took place at the corner of General Robinson Street and Tony Dorsett Drive, where the demonstrators had filled the intersection.

Several fell but quickly got to their feet as the crowd chased after the car. The car went a short distance before crashing through a barrier and fleeing the scene.

“They plowed through the crowd,” said Suzy South, of Pittsburgh. “They didn’t go slowly. It was scary. Some were begging them to stop.”

Police in riot gear quickly arrived and lined the area, forcing the crowd back.

Meanwhile, a smaller group gathered in Homestead.

Michelle Morris, 55, said that she is a close family friend of Antwon Rose’s family.

“I’m here to stop violence, not just one incident,” said Morris, of Penn Hills.

She wants to see more training for police related to gun violence in communities and preventing police brutality.

“It doesn’t matter what race,” Morris said. “It needs to stop.”

At about 9 p.m., the group walked on to the Homestead Grays Bridge, blocking traffic.

After the group had blocked the bridge for an hour, Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough gave the group a five minutes warning to get off the bridge.

After officers cleared the bridge, officers formed a line on Eighth Street near the intersection of Hays Avenue.

A group of people met them in the street, and officers arrested four people in zip-tie handcuffs.

After about 10 minutes, the crowd dispersed and the officers drove away.

Theresa Clift is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-5569 or [email protected] Jamie Martinez and Mike DiVittorio contributed to this report.

Downtown Pittsburgh protest

Homestead Grays Bridge protest

Hundreds of people demonstrated in and around East Pittsburgh on Wednesday and Thursday nights. The latter protest spilled into early Friday as protesters marched from the East Pittsburgh police station to the Parkway East. More than 150 protesters blocked traffic in both directions of the busy highway for about 5½ hours. One person was arrested.

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