Bishop Dorsey W.M. McConnell of Pittsburgh reflects on the acquittal of police officer Michael Rosfeld in the shooting death of Antwon Rose II, 17:
Many in our region are frustrated and despondent over this verdict. I am aware that others believe justice was served, given the law as it stands. Yet, surely, none of us can ignore what the killing of one more unarmed black man by a white police officer says about our ailing society. The incident evokes the memory of many others nationwide that have been documented in recent years. From the moment the trigger was pulled, to the moment of acquittal, we have been on the familiar road of a national agony: a young, relatively inexperienced white officer; a young black man with apparently little reason to believe the police would not harm him if he gave himself up; a state law riddled with implicit bias; and a local jury that could only apply the law.
All of this points to the systemic illness that continues to infect our society more than a hundred and fifty years after the formal end of chattel slavery in this country, an illness that increasingly puts the heart of our democracy at risk. We must now find ways to break down the barriers of racial inequality and injustice, and with them the walls of mistrust that separate us into multiple factions struggling for power. Nearly 51 years after the death of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his dream has become a searing question: will we ever live out the true meaning of our creed: that all are created equal?