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Paper: Officer left job after charges he filed were dropped

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

PITTSBURGH – A Pennsylvania police officer who fired the shots that killed a teenager fleeing a traffic stop left his previous job with a university police force about a month after prosecutors dropped a case against three men he’d filed charges against.

Leonard Hammonds II, of Penn Hills, right, points out that a Turtle Creek Police officer has his hand on his weapon during a rally in East Pittsburgh, Pa., on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, at a protest regarding the shooting death of Antwon Rose by an East Pittsburgh Police officer during a traffic stop the night before. (Steve Mellon/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)

East Pittsburgh Officer Michael Rosfeld, who officials say shot 17-year-old Antwon Rose Jr. on Tuesday, worked for the University of Pittsburgh police until early this year, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Saturday.

On Dec. 9, Rosfeld responded to the Garage Door Saloon in Oakland after another officer called for assistance, according to the criminal complaint Rosfeld filed. He said the other officer had three men up against a wall who smelled of alcohol and were “extremely belligerent.” The owner said the trio had been thrown out for trying to fight other customers. The three were charged with simple assault, defiant trespass, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness.

The Allegheny County District Attorney’s office, however, withdrew all charges on Dec. 21. A spokesman later said officials “didn’t think we could sustain our burden of proof based on the evidence available.”

In this Friday, June 22, 2018 photo, a car runs aggressively through a crowd of protesters on the north side on Tony Dorsett Way at West General Robinson Street in Pittsburgh. Protesters upset that some were nearly injured by the vehicle pursued it throwing water bottles and a heavy metal traffic barrier. The protest was in response to the fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Antwon Rose Jr. on Tuesday, who was shot fleeing a traffic stop in Pittsburgh. (Andrew Stein/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)

More:Lawyer: No apparent justification for fatal shooting of Pa. teen

Rosfeld, 30, left the university police department on Jan. 18 and was hired by the East Pittsburgh police in mid-May.

Officials say he shot Rose after pulling over a car that matched the description of a vehicle wanted in a shooting in a nearby town.

The car had bullet damage to a back window. Authorities said two handguns were retrieved from the car, and District Attorney Stephen Zappala said an empty gun clip was found in Rose’s pocket.

One of the men against whom charges were dismissed in December, Timothy Riley, 24, declined to discuss the case but told The Post-Gazette he was upset to see that Rosfeld was involved in this week’s shooting.

This frame grab a John Fetterman campaign video shows Antwon Rose. Rose was shot Tuesday, June 19, 2018, in East Pittsburgh, a suburb of Pittsburgh, after the car he was riding in was pulled over by Officer Michael Rosfeld because it matched the description of a car wanted in a shooting in a nearby town, police said. Protesters demonstrated Friday, June 22, 2018, for a third day over the fatal police shooting in Pennsylvania of the unarmed black teen fleeing a traffic stop as they sought to get the attention of a nation engrossed by the immigration debate, and to pressure officials to charge the officer.

“It makes me sick that he was able to still be a cop after how they treated us, and that poor kid had to lose his life because of their negligence,” he said.

University spokesman Joe Miksch declined to say whether Rosfeld was fired or resigned. He said all records regarding the officer had been turned over to county police, who are investigating Rose’s death. He declined further comment.