Racist Mayor Wants To Bring Back 'The Hoses', Alabama-Style. So Today's Got That Too
Antwon Rose Jr. was shot in the back like a dog last week in East Pittsburgh, and that has inconvenienced a lot of people, including the now-dead 17-year-old Rose, his friends and family, and the police officer formally charged today with his killing. However, Karen Peconi, mayor of the Pittsburgh suburb Arnold, felt the most put-upon because she had to look at all those black people senselessly protesting because a black kid died senselessly.
Peconi... shared a Viral Leaks video on her [Facebook] account that showed black "rioters" being sprayed with water hoses and a photo of teenage civil rights demonstrators being hosed by firefighters 55 years ago in Birmingham, Alabama, reported WTAE-TV.
The Facebook posts were made in response to ongoing protests of the police shooting death of 17-year-old Antwon Rose Jr., who was killed June 19 by police officer Michael Rosfeld while fleeing a traffic stop.
So, apparently the I hope soon-to-be former Mayor Peconi saw this footage from the Civil Rights Movement and confused it for a training video: "Ahh, yes, see how the water blast is going right into their mouths? Wonderful. Masterful technique!"
"I'm posting this so the authorities everywhere sees (sic) this … bring the hoses," wrote Peconi. "They don't care about jobs for PGH … none of them work now. That's how they can do this at 7 a.m. Very sad."
Why are so many middle-class white people who complain about protestors "not having jobs" oblivious to the fact that other people might work hours outside of the traditional 9 to 5? Do they just assume everyone they encounter in the evening at restaurants, supermarkets, and hotels are robots?
She called on law enforcement to blast protesters with a "water canon," misspelling "cannon."
Peconi told the TV station she had no comment, but then said about herself: "The mayor didn't post those."
Man, you know you're in political hot water when you're distancing yourself from yourself. Although the county of Westmoreland is fairly conservative, the city of Arnold itself has a significant (a little more than 25 percent) black population, and one lesson from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's upset victory Tuesday night is that maybe it's time for communities to have representatives and leaders who resemble them or at the very least don't hold them in undisguised contempt.
Peconi released a statement apologizing this morning, claiming it was never her intent to offend people with her support of state-sanctioned violence against civil rights protestors. She likely took all this hoopla over a dead black kid personally: Her son is a police officer who last year was one of the arresting officers involved in an excessive force investigation. Not that any of them were prosecuted or anything, but I'm sure it was a tough few months. While we wait for Peconi's resignation, we can take some comfort in the possibility that authorities might actually treat Rose's summary execution as a crime-like incident instead of one of those increasingly common spontaneous negro-related suicides.
[East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld] was conducting a traffic stop of the vehicle Rose was riding in, which police said fit the description of one used in a drive-by shooting that night. He told investigators he had ordered the driver out of the car, and down on the ground, when Rose got out of the vehicle.
According to Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala, Jr., Rose can be seen on witness video showing his hands before fleeing. No weapon was found on his person.
Rosfeld first told investigators that Rose "turned his hand toward" Rosfeld, who "saw something dark that he perceived as a gun," detectives wrote in the complaint. But when asked to repeat his version of events, Rosfeld's story changed, detectives wrote.
If cops are going to shoot at "something dark" because they think it's a gun, they're going to wind up shooting an awful lot of black people. Almost 100 percent of my body is "something dark." Can't gun manufacturers make their products a nice off-white for a while?
"During that rendition, Rosfeld told the detectives that he did not see a gun when the passenger emerged and ran. When confronted with this inconsistency, Rosfeld stated he saw something in the passenger's hand but was not sure what it was," detectives wrote in the complaint. "In addition, Officer Rosfeld stated that he was not certain if the individual who had his arm pointed at him was still pointing at him when he fired the shots."
Rosfeld sounds really confused. Is he even certain he was at the scene? That should be his defense: "I thought I was home."
As he surfs Netflix during his paid administrative leave, Rosfeld will likely reassure himself that even if this all goes to trial, his chances for actual conviction remain slim. But the long journey to some semblance of justice begins with a single step and all that. It just won't bring back Antwon Rose Jr.
Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).