Crowd marches through Downtown Pittsburgh to protest Antwon Rose shooting |
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Megan Guza

Some city, county and state officials addressed crowds of protesters Tuesday after a march in protest of the killing of Antwon Rose shut down parts of Downtown Pittsburgh for several hours.

Dozens of protesters began the morning at Freedom Corner in the city’s Hill District and made their way through Downtown, with their numbers swelling to more than 100 along the way. The march remained peaceful, and police cruisers and officers on horseback followed behind the protesters, keeping traffic at bay but generally leaving marchers to their own devices.

The march began in the Hill at about 7 a.m. and ended about three hours later at the City-County Building.

State Rep. Ed Gainey, D-East Liberty, praised protesters for making themselves heard.

“Pittsburgh woke up, and Pittsburgh has said, ‘no more,'” Gainey said. “Pittsburgh has said, ‘We see what’s going on.’ There’s no rhyme or reason why an unarmed African American or anybody else should be shot in the back three times. There’s no rhyme or reason to it.”

In a short but passionate speech, Gainey called for charges to be filed against Michael Rosfeld, the officer who shot and killed Rose.

“We know that we’ve got great cops out there,” he said. “But for the one to shoot an innocent unarmed black man in the back — he should be charged.”

He called for more diversity education within police departments.

“You can’t respect what you don’t know,” he said.

State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Hill District, echoed the sentiment.

“This seems like a continual pattern that has systemic issues to it,” he said.

Wheatley called for a reform of how police officers are trained and how officer-involved shootings and use of force are reviewed.

“As a father, as a man in the community, and additionally, as your state rep, I’m appalled at what I saw on TV,” he said.

The march came after protesters took two days off out of respect for Rose’s family. His viewing was held Sunday evening and his funeral was Monday morning.

Protesters moved from the Hill District to Grant Street, briefly shutting down the intersection of Sixth and Grant before moving to the Allegheny County Courthouse. Protesters have rallied for voters to vote District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. out of office in the next election.

From there, protesters formed a circle in the intersection of Grant and Boulevard of the Allies, where they sat down and blocked traffic for some time.

Chants of “no justice, no peace,” “three shots to the back, how you justify that?” and other rallying cries continued. The crowd moved down the Boulevard and looped back around to Grant Street, coming to a stop at the City-County Building and occupying the front steps of the portico.

Rose’s aunt addressed those gathered on the portico. She said the family wants Rosfeld fired and, eventually, convicted. She called the protest beautiful.

She also had a message to her nephew.

“Baby, we love you, and we are going to be here and see this thing through,” she said through tears. “Your name will not be in vain. We are going to be here, and we are going to fight for him.”

Megan Guza and Jamie Martines are Tribune-Review staff writers. Staff writer Bob Bauder contributed.

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