'Hope that man never sleeps': Mom of black teen Antwon Rose slams white police officer's acquittal in son's killing

Ryan W. Miller
'Hope that man never sleeps': Mom of black teen Antwon Rose slams white police officer's acquittal in son's killing

The mother of an unarmed black teen who was fatally shot by a white police officer said the cop's acquittal Friday "isn’t what I hoped for, but it’s what I expected."

In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Michelle Kenney said she won't stop speaking up after her son Antwon Rose II's death last June, and the family will continue their legal battle. 

"I hope that man never sleeps at night," Kenney told the Post-Gazette. "I hope he gets as much sleep as I do, which is none."

Former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld fatally shot Rose in the back, arm and side of the face as the 17-year-old fled from an unlicensed taxi that Rosfeld had pulled over following a drive-by shooting.

More: White cop cleared in fatal shooting of black teen in Pittsburgh

Michelle Kenney, center, the mother of Antwon Rose II, leaves the Allegheny County Courthouse with supporters after hearing the verdict of not guilty on all charges for Michael Rosfeld, a former police officer in East Pittsburgh, Pa., Friday, March 22, 2019.

A jury acquitted Rosfeld of homicide charges Friday after less than four hours of deliberation following four days of trial. During the trial, the jury saw video of the fatal shooting that became public shortly after the incident and contributed to unrest in Pittsburgh in the following days.

Rose's family's attorney, S. Lee Merritt, said Friday that he and the family would keep seeking justice for the teen.

"It will have to be challenged, in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. It will have to continue to be challenged on a federal level," Merritt told reporters, according to CNN.

Rose’s family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in August against Rosfeld and East Pittsburgh, according to The Associated Press.

The teen "was unarmed, and he did not pose a threat to the officer or to the community, and the verdict today says that is OK, that is acceptable behavior from a police," Merritt added.

More: Antwon Rose Jr., unarmed teen shot by police officer, laid to rest in Pennsylvania

The verdict prompted a "peaceful demonstration" in Pittsburgh, the city's public safety department tweeted Friday night.

However, according to CBS Pittsburgh, the office of Patrick Thomassey, the attorney who defended Rosfeld, was shot up overnight. No one was injured, CBS reported.

After the verdict, Thomassey told reporters that Rosfeld is "a good man. He said to me many times, 'Patrick, this has nothing to do with the kid's color. I was doing what I was trained to do.'"

The trial focused on whether Rosfeld was justified in using lethal force, according to the AP. Rosfeld told jurors he thought Rose or another teen in the car had pointed a gun at him. Neither were holding guns when the officer shot Rose, but two guns were later found in the vehicle.

Zaijuan Hester, 18, who was in the car with Rose before he was killed, pleaded guilty last week to charges related to the drive-by shooting.

Rose's killing sparked protests throughout the city at the time, and he is one of many unarmed black teens and men killed by white police officers in high-profile cases.

In her interview with the Post-Gazette, Kenney noted how her son was unarmed and killed but a heavily armed, white shooter who killed 11 at the Tree of Life synagogue last year survived during his interaction with police.

"I cried for Antwon. I don’t ever cry about Michael Rosfeld," she said.

Contributing: John Bacon, USA TODAY, and The Associated Press.

Follow USA TODAY's Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Hope that man never sleeps': Mom of black teen Antwon Rose slams white police officer's acquittal in son's killing