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The legal exoneration of the man who killed Antwon Rose last summer has sent yet another shock wave through our community. It seemed inconceivable that a man shooting and killing an unarmed boy who was fleeing from him could be found innocent of wrongdoing. Yet that is precisely what the jury determined. It is claimed that their decision hung on a single factor, that the killer was an on-duty police officer. In Pennsylvania, police are legally given discretionary latitude to shoot at anyone they deem to be a danger to themselves or to others. Yet what is “legal” and what is “right” can be very different.
On June 19, Antwon Rose was looking forward to his upcoming birthday. Until his life was cut short by police bullets fired into his back, as he ran unarmed, from police in East Pittsburgh.