Jury selection is expected to begin Tuesday in downtown Harrisburg for the trial of a Pittsburgh-area police officer charged with criminal homicide in the shooting death of an unarmed teenager last year.
Residents of Dauphin County are being picked as jurors for this case because of concerns it would be hard to find an impartial jury in Allegheny county, where the incident occurred.
The fatal shooting of Antwon Rose, 17, on June 19 sparked weeks of protests, including some that shut down Pittsburgh-area highways, with protesters focused particularly on race since the teen was black and the officer is white.
The empaneled jury from Dauphin County will be bused to Allegheny County and sequestered in a hotel for the duration of the trial, which is set to begin March 19.
The city of Pittsburgh was prepping downtown businesses for possible unrest over the trial, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Officer Michael Rosfeld, 30, was charged with a single count of homicide after he fired three gunshots at Antwon who had fled from a traffic stop. A bystander recorded part of the shooting on a cell phone video that went viral.
Antwon was hit by bullets in the right cheek, right elbow and in the middle of his back, according to court records.
Rosfeld, who had been sworn in as an East Pittsburgh officer just two hours prior to the fatal shooting, originally told police he thought Antwon had something dark that he perceived as a gun in his hand, but Rosfeld later clarified he wasn’t sure what the teen had in his hand.
Two witnesses told police said that Antwan and another passenger who fled clearly had nothing in their hands when they ran away from the car, which had been previously linked to a drive-by shooting, according to court records.
Jury selection is expected to take several days as prosecutors and the defense team each try to elicit information from prospective jurors.
Because a police officer is the one charged, prosecutors will be looking for a different type of ju