The June shooting death of Antwon Rose, an unarmed black 17-year-old, by Michael Rosfeld, a white East Pittsburgh police officer, continues to have political, policy and policing repercussions.
In addition to protests large and small, as well as various community meetings since Rose's death:
- About 50 community members showed up at an East Pittsburgh Borough Council meeting Tuesday evening demanding that Rosfeld be fired or they will vote council and Mayor Louis Payne out of office.
- Allegheny County Council is considering creating a County Citizens Police Review Board to investigate allegations of police misconduct.
- Legislation has been proposed to standardize training in police departments across the state including the 100+ departments in Allegheny County.
"The voice of the protesters has been very important," said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. "They've had a lot of impact in moving the discussion ... for changes that occur in policy."
Fitzgerald said that among the more than 100 police departments in the county some have robust policies while others "are probably lacking in things like training and operations."
He said there's a gap in the level of professionalism of the officers. "Some of them are part-time officers at very low pay; we're talking 10, 11, 12 dollars an hour," according to Fitzgerald, who said smaller municipalities don't have the same amount of money to invest in training "whether it's around diversity, whether it involves a [police] chase, pulling somebody over."
Fitzgerald acknowledged that the municipalities and their police departments are independent and don't have to answer to him, but said he has been talking to legislators about how laws about standardized police training and policies "can be brought to bear on municipalities."
Fitzgerald said he hopes that the tragedy for Antwon Rose and his family might result in some changes. "That would be positive, that these things (fatalities of unarmed civilians at the hands of police) won't occur in the future."