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MUSC Statement on the Death of Antwon Rose

Another son has set too early...Antwon Rose

On Tuesday evening, June 19th, East Pittsburgh police encountered and stopped a car in which 17- year-old Antwon Rose was a passenger. Witness accounts and video taken by community members show that seconds after Antwon - who was unarmed - exited the car and began running away from the police, he was shot three times and killed. Antwon did not appear to cause any immediate threat to the police.  No weapons were found upon his person or near his body.  It is not illegal to run away in fear.  Yet, he did and it cost him his life.

As moms of Black boys and men across the country, this is our worst nightmare and it has to stop now.  As moms, we all know we will have “the talk” with our sons about how to conduct themselves when they encounter the police.  Be respectful, put your hands in clear sight, defer at all times to the police officer, and no matter how scared you are, make no sudden movements.  Despite these warnings, our sons are human.  They have seen the countless stories of Black boys and men who do exactly as they are told but are still perceived as threats; some of them walk away with grave bodily injuries.  Some of them lose their lives.  So, sometimes fear takes over and they run.  But running is not a crime.  Even if there is reasonable suspicion to believe a crime is being committed, police officers are neither judge nor jury.

Antwon Rose should still be alive. “Antwon Rose did not appear to pose any immediate threat to the officers on the scene.  Too many of our sons are seen as inherently suspicious and it needs to stop,” said Depelsha McGruder, founder of MOBB United for Social Change. “Police officers should be trained to safely apprehend persons suspected of a crime, without these persons being killed on sight, whether they comply or run. Police cannot serve as judge and jury in the American criminal justice system. We urge the Allegheny County police department and District Attorney to look closely at all of the facts and circumstances and not just write Antwon off as another suspect.” 

Moms of Black Boys United for Social Change calls for a swift and independent investigation into the death of Antwon Rose. We ask for transparent investigation into what justified the officer to fire rounds into the backs of fleeing individuals. We ask that the District Attorney hold the East Pittsburgh police department accountable.

We will stay vigilant as we watch this investigation unfold. And we will organize in support of Antwon’s family and seek justice for Antwon Rose!

Moms of Black Boys (MOBB) United, Inc. and MOBB United for Social Change, Inc. are sister non-profit organizations formed by Depelsha McGruder to galvanize concerned mothers who want to work together to make a difference in how Black boys and men are perceived and treated by law enforcement and in society. What started as a Facebook group of about 30 women has grown into an online community of more than 183,000 Moms nationwide and globally, representing every race, age, religion, socioeconomic background, marital status and education level. Moms of Black Boys United, Inc. is a resource that shares vital information, encourages strong family and community connections, promotes self-care and empowers moms to navigate all of the institutions that interact with, influence and impact their sons. MOBB United for Social Change, Inc. acts as a voice for moms of Black sons and is focused on influencing policy and eliminating racial disparities related to the interaction Black boys and men have with law enforcement and persons in authority. From the school-to-prison pipeline to the broader criminal justice system, the goal is to change the trajectory of racial injustice to ensure that Black boys and men survive and thrive.

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