The family of Antwon Rose, the 17-year-old shot and killed by an East Pittsburgh police officer in June, has filed a federal lawsuit against the borough of East Pittsburgh, the officer involved in the case, the police chief and the mayor.
In the wrongful death lawsuit filed Wednesday family members alleged that East Pittsburgh and its policymakers -- specifically the city council, police Chief Lori Fruncek and Mayor Louis Payne -- failed to properly train the borough’s police officers.
Officer Michael Rosfeld is charged with criminal homicide in the death of Rose, who was shot to death as he and another teenager ran from a traffic stop on the night of June 19. Rose was unarmed.
According to the suit, Rosfeld did not wait for backup units to arrive and “immediately drew his weapon and began to shout menacing and hostile orders at the three occupants of the vehicle, including Rose.”
The “aggressive” tone and demeanor of Rosfeld caused the occupants of the vehicle to fear for their lives, the suit said.
The lawsuit cites Rosfeld’s use of excessive force and claims he did not attempt to provide medical aid to Rose after the shooting.
The officer’s past is also referenced in the lawsuit. He was fired from the University of Pittsburgh Police Department.
“Despite his record the EPPD (East Pittsburgh Police Department) hired Defendant Rosfeld. East Pittsburgh either knew, or through their lack of a failure to investigate, didn’t know of Rosfeld’s checkered history, resulting in culpability for such a hire,” the lawsuit alleges.
Rose’s parents are seeking compensation for damages and the wrongful death of their son.
The Rose family’s attorney, Fred Rabner, released the following statement:
“The overwhelming facts and unequivocal law supporting this lawsuit are so clear and self-evident that it could have been filed within days of Antwon's death. However, the family deserved to lay their son, brother and grandson to rest in a peaceful fashion. And while this suit will never quell their tremendous grief or minimize their tragic loss, we feel that it is time that we begin to seek answers, and take appropriate court action to assure justice.”
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