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Protests Of Police Shooting Continue For Fourth Night, This Time On South Side

Kathleen Davis
90.5 WESA
Demonstrators moving along East Carson Street stop for a moment of silence before continuing to the 10th Street Bridge.

Updated at 12:33 a.m.

More than 200 demonstrators marched through the South Side on Saturday, marking the fourth consecutive night of protests following the death of 17-year-old Antwon Rose Jr. at the hands of suburban police.

WESA reporters Kathleen Davis and Chris Potter followed the protest, which proceeded down East Carson Street, through the heart of one of the city's largest entertainment districts. Among those heading up the march was Leon Ford, who was partially paralyzed after being shot by a Pittsburgh police officer in a 2012 incident.

As with earlier demonstrations, the marchers disrupted traffic, with police closing intersections as they passed. After pausing for a moment of silence before the 10th Street Bridge, riot police asked protestors to take the sidewalk. Then confronted with a downpour, the marchers kept moving, shouting "We won't stop for no rain!"

Many other chants were familiar, with call-and-responses that insisted Rose not be forgotten.
"How old was he? Seventeen! What was his name? Antwon Rose Jr."

After nearly three hours, police stopped protestors as they moved toward the Birmingham Bridge and told them they had five minutes to disperse. Relunctantly, marchers began to melt away, leaving only officers in the street. 

Rose was shot three times by East Pittsburgh borough police officer Michael Rosfeld. Rose was fleeing a vehicle that police had pulled over, suspecting it of having been involved in an earlier shooting. Rose was unarmed when Rosfeld shot him, though officials say he had a clip in his pocket and two guns were found in the vehicle. The case has become a lightning rod of controversy, in part because of concerns that law enforcement, including District Attorney Stephen Zappala, passes over police misconduct.

Saturday night's demonstration followed a previously scheduled Juneteenth parade from Freedom Corner in the Hill District to Point State Park. While the event commemorated the end of slavery, Rose's shooting was a focus.

A demonstration Friday night ranged from Downtown to the North Side, and ended outside another entertainment venue, PNC Park, where some drivers and Pirates fans reacted angrily to the protests. On Thursday night, protesters effectivelyshut down the Parkway East for over five hours.

Allegheny County Police are investigating the shooting. Rose's funeral takes place Monday.

Nearly three decades after leaving home for college, Chris Potter now lives four miles from the house he grew up in -- a testament either to the charm of the South Hills or to a simple lack of ambition. In the intervening years, Potter held a variety of jobs, including asbestos abatement engineer and ice-cream truck driver. He has also worked for a number of local media outlets, only some of which then went out of business. After serving as the editor of Pittsburgh City Paper for a decade, he covered politics and government at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He has won some awards during the course of his quarter-century journalistic career, but then even a blind squirrel sometimes digs up an acorn.