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Police officer charged in death of black teen

VICTIM: Antwon Rose (Photo credit: Facebook)

A POLICE officer has been charged with homicide over the shooting of an unarmed black teenager.

Antwon Rose,17, was shot three times during a traffic stop by officer Rosfeld, who had been sworn into the East Pittsburgh Police Department just hours prior to the incident.

Footage of the Pittsburg shooting, that circulated across social media showed two men running away from a car that had been stopped by police when the sounds of gunfire could be heard.

The killing has sparked nationwide protests as Rose’s death is the latest string of US police shootings of unarmed black men. His death has fuelled further debate about racial bias in the criminal justice system.

Rosfeld surrendered to face a single criminal count for the June 19 death, which occurred as he was searching for suspects after a drive-by shooting.

Allegheny County District Attorney Steve Zappala said he believes Rosfeld acted “recklessly and without justification.” He said: “I find that Rosfeld's actions were intentional,” emphasising that Rose was not armed. “He was not acting to prevent death or serious bodily injury.”

Prosecutors said Rosfeld first told them he saw a person emerge from the car with a “foreign object,” but later admitted he did not see a weapon.

Rose’s family viewed the charging of Rosfeld with “guarded optimism,” according to their attorney, Lee Merritt. He said: “We realise that conviction is a long road ahead.”

Rosfeld’s attorney, Patrick Thomassey, told reporters that the officer turned himself in early Wednesday (June 27) and was released on an unsecured bond of $250,000.

A medical examiner determined that the bullet to the abdomen hit Rose's heart and lungs which was the fatal shot.

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