The media’s negative portrayal of law enforcement has reached troubling heights following the East Pittsburgh Police shooting of an underaged drive-by shooting suspect who was fleeing from a vehicle loaded with firearms and covered in bullet holes.
The incident stems from police responding to a drive-by shooting where a 22-year-old man was shot in the abdomen before returning fire on the offending vehicle. Officers quickly located the suspects’ vehicle and stopped it.
When East Pittsburgh Police began to detain the driver, 17-year-old Antwon Rose and another passenger fled. An officer opened fire and killed Rose, who did not have a weapon on him. Two guns were discovered in the vehicle though, which also had bullet holes in the rear window, according to multiple reports.
While the officer involved in the shooting was relatively new to the police department (having been sworn in only hours before his shift began) he was not new to law enforcement, and had a considerable amount of experience with previous agencies.
However, a quick glance at the headlines surrounding the event wouldn’t indicate any of the facts just presented. Instead, the media ran with misleading headlines intentionally meant to stir up anger against police.
“Police in East Pittsburgh fatally shoot 17-year-old boy fleeing traffic stop,” the Chicago Tribune reported, adding in the article that “video circulated showing the teenager gunned down as he appeared to run with his back to the officer.”
“Officer who fatally shot teen sworn in same night in East Pittsburgh,” local Pittsburgh station WTAE wrote as the title of the article, giving the impression that the officer was a rookie.
The New York Times, however, took the cake with their divisively misleading title, “Unarmed 17-Year-Old Fatally Shot as He Ran From East Pittsburgh Police,” evoking images of trigger-happy police officers gunning down teenagers.
While every title is different, they all appear to have one thing in common: Not one initially mentions that Rose was a drive-by suspect, fleeing from a vehicle full of (easily accessible) guns and bullet holes.
The Allegheny Police Department released a statement concerning the incident on social media, noting that the suspects fled as the officer involved was ordering the driver to exit the vehicle and place himself on the ground. The third suspect remains at large.
“In accordance with police best practices in the aftermath of officer-involved shootings, Allegheny County Police Department (ACPD) Homicide detectives were requested to assume the role of independent investigating agency” the department wrote. “The East Pittsburgh officer has been placed on administrative leave. ACPD Homicide will work closely with the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office as this investigation progresses, providing his staff with investigative findings for review. “
According to KDKA, large crowds of protesters assembled outside of the East Pittsburgh Police station, which included “die-ins” and crowds blocking traffic for miles.
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