PITTSBURGH - There will be a heightened sense of security in downtown Pittsburgh starting Tuesday morning for the homicide trial of a former East Pittsburgh police officer.
Several roads around the Allegheny County Courthouse will also be closed for Michael Rosfeld's trial in the death of Antwon Rose.
Rose, 17, was shot and killed in June.
Rose's family has hired civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who told Channel 11 he was with the family the night before the trial started.
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He said the family is anxious and praying for the best possible result.
"What this entire case comes down to is that six second period before he fired his weapon," Merritt said. "Did he perceive a threat that necessitated the use of deadly force? And I think the evidence is clear that it doesn’t. If we can get a case that’s about those facts, I believe we will see a conviction."
Merritt is representing the family in a civil suit that will parallel the criminal case, addressing the same issues and facts, but under a different standard of law.
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“A guilty verdict would mean that the city of Pittsburgh, that the courts in Pennsylvania, value the life of a young black male in a way that we rarely see in the country," Merritt said.
Ahead of the high-profile trial, Point Park University's Department of Public Safety sent an email to students that the university was informed by Pittsburgh police about possible demonstrations during the trial or at the time of the verdict.
The email goes on to explain where the demonstrations could take place and how the university is making sure students, faculty and staff are safe. The University of Pittsburgh put out a similar alert.
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