Identity & Justice

The identity and justice desk explores how the makeup of the Pittsburgh community is changing, and digs into issues of diversity and equity.

Michael Rosfeld Says He Thought Gun Was Pointed At Him

6 hours ago
Matt Rourke / AP

A white former police officer charged with killing an unarmed black teenager outside Pittsburgh took the stand in his own homicide trial Thursday afternoon.  

Marc Levy / AP

The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is taking legal action over what it says is are unacceptably long wait times for mentally ill inmates in county prisons to get care.

It’s not a new issue.

In fact, this is the ACLU’s third time bringing the problem to federal court.

When people who commit crimes are found too mentally ill to stand trial, they’re supposed to be placed in state care. The need varies based on their offense and their health—some go to secure, prison-like facilities while others can live more independently in community programs.

Nate Smallwood/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review via AP, Pool

Prosecutors will call more witnesses to the stand Thursday in the trial of a white former police officer charged with homicide for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager.

Courtesy of Heather Tomko

Uneven sidewalks, limited navigable pathways and businesses without proper accomodations for wheelchairs are just some of the obstacles facing Heather Tomko every day. 

Matt Rourke / AP

A witness in the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer said Wednesday he saw the officer standing on the sidewalk, panicking, saying, "I don't know why I shot him. I don't know why I fired."

W.Va. Suit Accuses Diocese Of Knowingly Employing Pedophiles

Mar 19, 2019
Julio Cortez / AP

A Catholic diocese and its former bishop in West Virginia knowingly employed pedophiles and failed to conduct adequate background checks on camp and school workers, a lawsuit filed Tuesday by the state attorney general charges. 

Sabrina Bodon / 90.5 WESA

From the moment the trial of former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld got underway, it was clear that the case will focus on his state of mind when he shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, Antwon Rose, last summer. 

Sabrina Bodon / 90.5 WESA

Relatives of Antwon Rose say they are "seeking the justice they so deserve" as a white police officer goes on trial in the fatal shooting of the unarmed black teenager.

Matt Rourke / AP

 The Pittsburgh synagogue that was the site of a shooting massacre that left 11 worshippers dead has started a fundraising campaign through GoFundMe to support New Zealand's Muslim community.

Mark Scolforo / AP

Pennsylvania's prison system is banning all tobacco products inside every facility's secure perimeter, starting July 1.

Matt Rourke / AP

Former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld goes on trial Tuesday for fatally shooting 17-year-old Antwon Rose last summer.

Mark Baker / AP

Pittsburgh Police will be increasing patrols at area mosques and the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh this weekend after attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand left 49 worshippers dead. 

Mark Scolforo / AP

Three weeks ago, the state prison system settled a lawsuit brought by the ACLU and other groups who said the Department of Corrections was violating inmates’ constitutional rights by making copies of legal mail.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Local community members, journalists and officials will gather at the Ace Hotel Wednesday night for a discussion about gun control legislation that would seek to include the unique experiences of women, minorities and religious groups. 

Matt Rourke / AP

A jury of six men and six women is in place for next week's trial of a white former Pennsylvania police officer accused of criminal homicide for the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager last year.

Leah Jonns / Courtesy of La'Tasha Mayes

Applications opened this month on the Social Justice Rapid Response Fund, a new program providing grants to help support activists in Pittsburgh. 

Matt Rourke / AP

A judge in the case of a white western Pennsylvania police officer accused of shooting to death a black teenager last year put a black woman on the jury Tuesday over the defense's objections but said he will reconsider the decision. 

Jury Selection Begins For Trial Of Officer Charged With Killing Antwon Rose

Mar 12, 2019

Jury selection begins Tuesday in a Harrisburg courtroom in the case of a white police officer accused of shooting to death an unarmed black teen in western Pennsylvania last summer.

The jurors will be taken to Allegheny County for the trial next week of Michael Rosfeld, a former East Pittsburgh Police officer charged with criminal homicide for the June 19 death of 17-year-old Antwon Rose II.

Allegheny County District Attorney / AP

Jury selection starts Tuesday in the homicide trial of Michael Rosfeld, the white police officer who fatally shot black unarmed teen Antwon Rose last summer in East Pittsburgh.

Cash For The Poor? General Assistance Welfare Again Under Threat In PA

Mar 8, 2019
Kimberly Paynter / AP

For the first time in decades, John Boyd feels hopeful about the future.

Olamikan Gbemiga / AP

Of all the challenges faced by people who’ve been displaced, perhaps none is more important than to find new meaning in their lives. And so it is with the four young women who are students in a college prep class that I teach at Dickinson College.

PA Department of Corrections

The Department of Corrections has arrested three staff members at three different state prisons for trying to smuggle in drugs.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

After October's Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, $6.3 million were donated to a fund set up by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. Most of that money will go to the families of the 11 people killed and to those seriously wounded in the attack. 

Google Maps

More than four months since four Pittsburgh police officers got into a bar fight with members of the Pagans motorcycle club, federal prosecutors say they will not file charges against the officers.

Ariel Worthy / WESA

Pittsburgh City Councilor Erika Strassburger introduced legislation on Tuesday that would prohibit discrimination against pregnant women. 


After a day in federal court, the state Corrections Department is settling a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups over a boost in legal mail security the groups say violated inmates’ First Amendment rights. 

Jacqueline Larma / AP

Planned testimony has been halted in a federal case contesting the legal mail policy used in Pennsylvania’s prisons.

Instead, lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups bringing the case say they’re likely headed toward a settlement.

Andrew Medichini / AP

Over the next few days in Vatican City, Pope Francis will meet with bishops from around the world to address ongoing clergy sexual abuse scandals, including those accused in Pennsylvania. 

Courtesy of Allegheny County

The Allegheny County public defender’s office underspent its budget for the sixth consecutive year in 2018.

Courtesy of the Heinz History Center

The African American History Commission Act was signed last year to recognize and highlight the resilience and cultural contributions of Africans and African Americans in the 400 years since they first landed in Virginia, by force as slaves. 

Samuel Black, director of African American programs at the Heinz History Center and immediate past president of the Association of African American Museums, joins 90.5 WESA's The Confluence to discuss the commission’s goals, Pittsburgh’s African American heritage and the cultural and historical impact on our region.