The foreman of a jury that acquitted a white East Pittsburgh police officer of homicide says he understands the hurt and anger felt by those who have been protesting the verdict.
Jesse Rawls Sr. said there have been so many cases of police officers shooting and killing unarmed and innocent black men around the country. However, he said the jury picked from Dauphin County did what was right in finding Michael Rosfeld not guilty of all charges Friday.
“If I would not have been in the jury room, understanding everything and listening and seeing all the evidence and evaluating the entire process, I probably would be feeling the way they are feeling,” said Rawls, of Harrisburg.
Rosfeld had stopped a car he suspected of involvement in a drive-by shooting last June. As Rosfeld ordered the driver to get on the ground, 17-year-old Antwon Rose II and another passenger started running. Rosfeld shot Rose three times, including in the back.
“Sometimes, you have to make split decisions, and that decision that he made to do, what he did was within a second,” Rawls said.
Rawls said the jury could have easily found Rosfeld guilty if the evidence proved his actions were not justified.
“If you wanted me to convict him on something that was wrong to please the neighborhood, that is not right,” he said.