Third day of protests brings students Downtown

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Third day of protests brings students Downtown

Demonstrators march through downtown Pittsburgh during Monday’s student walkout.

Demonstrators march through downtown Pittsburgh during Monday’s student walkout.

Kaycee Orwig | Staff Photographer

Demonstrators march through downtown Pittsburgh during Monday’s student walkout.

Kaycee Orwig | Staff Photographer

Kaycee Orwig | Staff Photographer

Demonstrators march through downtown Pittsburgh during Monday’s student walkout.

By Emily Wolfe, Assistant News Editor

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A group of more than 1,000 turned out Monday for a student-led walkout Downtown in protest of the acquittal of former East Pittsburgh officer Michael Rosfeld in the shooting of unarmed black teenager Antwon Rose. The march followed a weekend of protests in other locations in the City, including another protest Downtown and one on Pitt’s campus.

Word of the planned walkout spread on Sunday, largely through social media posts that encouraged students at Pittsburgh high schools and universities to leave class late Monday morning and meet at the City-County Building for a march through the City.

Many were still wearing backpacks when they arrived at the event. Though some signs were ruined by the rain that fell steadily throughout the march, many clearly bore the same words that had been chanted all weekend at rallies across the City.

“Three shots in the back,” marchers chanted as they moved down the streets. “How do you justify that?” And: “No justice, no peace, no racist police.”

Two of the largest signs, carried by a rotating group of protesters — a banner that read “He was seventeen” and a portrait of Rose, draped in flowers — led the march as it moved through Downtown.

Around 1,000 people protested in Downtown Monday afternoon following Michael Rosfeld’s acquittal in the shooting of Antwon Rose II. Graphic by Jon Moss | Online Visual Editor

Organizers told protesters to remain in the street to stay safe. The group eventually stopped in front of the Allegheny County Jail, where protesters stood the portrait of Rose on the ground. Student leaders addressed the crowd.

“I don’t want you to let this die here,” one leader, who did not give her name, said. “I want you to carry on his legacy. How many of you are going to carry Antwon Rose with you?”

The crowd cheered. One, Ben Cummings, a senior at Taylor Allderdice High School, clutched a rain-soaked copy of protesters’ demands. Though Pittsburgh Public Schools students weren’t officially excluded from class to participate in the walkout, Cummings and a friend said some of their teachers had encouraged students to come.

“The case with Antwon Rose hit a little too close to home for a lot of people in Pittsburgh,” Cummings said. “Students are going to be the future legislators, voters, lawmakers, activists. If we can get enough students, then there can be change.”

Amber Hogan, another Allderdice student, said she helped grow the protest by creating a Snapchat filter promoting it at Allderdice, and that she had also encouraged students from Creative and Performing Arts — CAPA — and the Barack Obama Academy of International Studies to join. She called the Rosfeld verdict “bulls—.”

“This s— should not happen anymore,” she said. “Like, come on. It is the 21st century. We need to move on from this.”

Bretta Bauerman, an undecided Pitt first-year, said she came to the march because she believed people of color shouldn’t need to live in fear of being killed by police.

“A lot of people are stuck in this situation where they’re afraid of the police because they’re killing so many people of color,” Bauerman said. “I don’t think I should be scared for my friends and that they should have to live their lives scared of the police.”

Maggie Young contributed reporting to this story.

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