Democratic Lawmakers Say 'Use Of Force' Bills Are Coming In The Wake Of Michael Rosfeld's Acquittal

Mar 28, 2019

After former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld was acquitted in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Antwon Rose, calls for legislative change were swift. Among the laws in question are those that govern of a police officer's use of force. 

Under current Pennsylvania law, officers are justified in using deadly force when, in the moment, they feel it's the only recourse to prevent serious injury to themselves or others, or if they believe it necessary to prevent a suspect’s escape from arrest for a suspected felony. 

State Rep. Ed Gainey says that needs to change. In a statement co-signed by Reps. Jake Wheatley, Summer Lee, Austin Davis, as well as Allegheny County Councilman DeWitt Walton and City Councilman Daniel Lavelle, Gainey calls for a more proactive approach to "addressing the inequality in police interactions with African-American men and women." 

Masonry is among the trades students will explore at the Builders Guild of Western Pennsylvania's event "Build On."
Credit Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

“We at the state have a responsibility to do all we can to deal with this use of force law and make sure that we’re making it to where it saves lives and improves community relations with the police. We have an obligation to do that,” he says.

Gainey says he plans to file new legislation in the next week.

Later in the program:

Forty years ago today, the Three Mile Island nuclear plant near Harrisburg suffered a partial meltdown, leaking radiation and terrifying the nation. The Allegheny Front’s Kara Holsopple spoke with Chuck Kern, who lived and worked nearby. He kept an audio diary of the historic event, recording the conflicting reports from officials and the confusion surrounding the accident. 

It’s been more than three months since a fire at U.S. Steel’s Clairton Coke Works significantly increased emissions of sulfur dioxide, and Mon Valley residents say it’s still affecting their quality of life. On the debut of a new occasional series, "Moment of Science," 90.5 WESA’s Liz Reid talked with University of Pittsburgh public health professor Jim Fabisiak about how sulfur dioxide affects the human body. Listeners can suggest their own topics for future stories

And the Allegheny Conference on Community Development projects the Pittsburgh region will need to fill 80,000 trade jobs by 2025. Thousands of local students in grades 7 through 12 will get a closer look at potential careers in construction, energy, manufacturing and more at a skills exploration, "Build On." Angela Mike, executive director of the Career and Technical Education Division of Pittsburgh Public Schools, and Eric Heasley, executive director of the A.W. Beattie Career Center, join The Confluence to discuss this latest push to get students interested in trade jobs by the Builders Guild of Western Pennsylvania. 

90.5 WESA's Mick Stinelli and Julia Zenkevich contributed to this program.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.