PITTSBURGH — Two men filed a lawsuit Monday against the police officer charged in the death of 17-year-old Antwon Rose.
The suit, filed by Robert Peirce & Associates, stems from an incident that allegedly occurred at the Garage Door Saloon in Oakland in December 2017 while Michael Rosfeld was employed by the University of Pittsburgh Police Department.
"This event should not have taken place. Because of it, Officer Rosfeld was let go from the police department," Peirce said.
According to Peirce, his clients, Timothy Riley and Jacob Schilling, were forcefully removed from the establishment by owner Mark Welshonse.
Riley located a police officer at Atwood Street, Peirce said. That officer accompanied him back to the bar.
At the same time, Rosfeld responded to the bar. He arrested the two men and charged them with simple assault, criminal trespassing, disorderly conduct and drunk and disorderly conduct at the direction of Welshonse, according to Peirce.
They both were handcuffed, they both were put up against the wall," he said.
In his complaint against the men, Rosfeld indicated that there was security footage that supported the charges. However, it was later learned that Rosfeld had not viewed the footage, Peirce said.
Welshonse has told Channel 11 News he does not have a comment.
Peirce said his clients each had only one drink that night and that claims of a fight breaking out are not true. He is working to obtain surveillance video.
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The charges against Riley and Schilling were later dismissed at a preliminary hearing. They are seeking damages and want the arrest taken off their records.
"They've had to separately hire criminal defense lawyers to have their record changed or expunged," Peirce said. “We have also been contacted by other citizens who have had similar situations with Officer Rosfeld; in particular, where charges have in fact been dropped."
In addition to Rosfeld, the following defendants are named in the lawsuit:
- Southside Sin City, Inc.
- The Garage Door Saloon
- Mark Welshonse
- University of Pittsburgh Police Chief James K. Loftus
- University of Pittsburgh
"My clients had to suffer due to his actions on that night when they did nothing wrong," Peirce said.
A spokesperson for the University of Pittsburgh released the following statement:
"We are cooperating fully with the Allegheny County Police Department's ongoing investigation. We have turned over all information we have regarding Michael Rosfeld's time as a Pitt police officer."
Rosfeld worked at Pitt as a police officer from 2012 to January 2018. He was suspended before being fired.
Before that, Rosfeld worked part-time with Harmar Township police for eight months and with the Oakmont police force from 2011-13.
Channel 11 News contacted Lee Merritt, the attorney representing the Rose family, who said he is also taking legal action against the University of Pittsburgh and the East Pittsburgh Police Department.
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