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  • A boy reads a poem written by Antwon Rose Jr. at a protest in Pittsburgh, USA.

    A boy reads a poem written by Antwon Rose Jr. at a protest in Pittsburgh, USA. | Photo: Reuters

Published 23 June 2018
Opinion

“Three shots in the back. How do you justify that?” protesters chanted referring to the killing of Antwon Rose Jr. in the U.S: City of Pittsburgh.

Hundreds of protestors took to the streets of Pittsburgh in the United States Friday to condemn the fatal police shooting of Antwon Rose Jr, a 17-year-old Black youth.

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“Three shots in the back. How do you justify that?” they chanted, according to media reports. They also repeated segments of a poem Rose wrote for his honors award he received in his High School English Class two years ago.

"I am confused and afraid / I wonder what path I will take / I hear that there's only two ways out / I see mothers bury their sons / I want my mom to never feel that pain. I am confused and afraid / I pretend all is fine / I feel like I'm suffocating / I touch nothing so I believe all is fine / I worry that it isn't though / I cry no more / I am confused and afraid / I understand people believe I am just a statistic / I say to them I'm different / I dream of life getting easier / I try my best to make my dream come true / I hope that it does / I am confused and afraid/," the poem read.

Michael Rosfeld, the police officer, at the center of the incident pulled over Rosfeld's vehicle, which believed was involved in a nearby shooting according to the police. Rose, who was inside the car, fled emerged unarmed but was still shot.

Lee Merritt, an attorney representing the family of Rose, said: “these facts, without more, simply leave little room to justify the use of deadly force by this officer.”

Rosfeld confessed to local media outlets that he had been officially sworn in as a member of the East Pittsburgh police department on the night he killed Rose Jr.

Video of the deadly shooting has surfaced online. Tom Wolf, the governor of the state of Pennsylvania, said “the video of this incident is deeply disturbing. Like in all police-involved shootings, there must be a thorough, swift and transparent review and investigation of his (Rose Jr.) death."

Black activists and community organizers have described Rose's death as another example of institutionalized racism.

The Washington Post's Fatal Force database reveals that at least 495 people have been killed by police this year alone. Last year it reported that over 980 people were killed.

While the Guardian explained that despite African-Americans making up approximately 12 percent of the total U.S. population, they represented nearly a quarter of the 1,090 people killed by U.S. police forces in 2016.

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