The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Police Officer Kills 17-Year-Old Black Student in Pittsburgh

Jun 25, 2018

Hundreds of people have been marching and blocking streets in a Pittsburgh suburb to protest the June 19 fatal shooting by a police officer of Antwon Rose, a 17-year-old black high school student. Video shows Rose shot three times in the back, just seconds after he got out of a car, faced with a cop with his gun drawn.

Police at first tried to say the car Rose had been riding in was involved in a drive-by shooting. But in fact, this 17-year-old honors student was riding in a jitney cab, that is, an unlicensed taxi, the poor-man’s Uber.

Then “sources” reported there was a video showing Rose shooting a gun during a drive-by shooting just minutes before he was killed, and that there was gun residue on his hands. But the police department was forced to admit in an official statement that those reports were false–there was no evidence Rose was involved in any drive-by, nor did he have gun residue on his hands.

Caught out in these attempts to blame the victim, the police fell back on their last resort argument. The Police Superintendent said that shooting a fleeing suspect could be justified if he posed a threat. This is the usual police way of asking–if he wasn’t a criminal, why did he run? And if he ran, wasn’t he a criminal, a threat?

Well look what happened to him! Isn’t it obvious why he ran? When you’re facing a member of a murderous gang, known to have killed dozens of people who look like you, and he pulls his gun–wouldn’t you run? Rose just had the misfortune not to have been able to run fast enough to escape the cop’s bullets.

Michael Rosfeld, the cop who shot Rose, had been on the East Pittsburgh police force only ten days. He had been pushed out of his last police job at the University of Pittsburgh after prosecutors discovered “discrepancies” between his sworn statement and evidence in an arrest he made. Yet this “testilying” didn’t stop the East Pittsburgh police department from hiring him.

The murder of Antwon Rose was exposed only because many black people are ready to protest racist police killings. Without protests, and more, these murders would just be swept under the carpet. Disruption of business as usual is the only thing that makes authorities place any limits what-so-ever on police brutality.