Michelle Kenney, center, mother of Antwon Rose II, speaks to members of the media following the closing arguments in the homicide trial of former East Pittsburgh Police officer Michael Rosfeld, Friday, March 22, 2019. at the Allegheny County Courthouse in Pittsburgh.
Nate Smallwood | Pittsburgh Tribune-Review via AP
The mother of an unarmed Black Pennsylvania teen who was fatally shot by a white police officer blasted President Donald Trump on Tuesday for what she called his lack of “empathy,” his disrespect and what she said was a media ploy by the president in signing an executive order pushing for police reform.
“I can’t stand the lies!” wrote Michelle Kenney, the mother of slain Antwon Rose II, in a scathing Facebook post after Trump said that he had met with Rose’s family and the families of other Black men killed by police. She also denied that her family met with the president, as he claimed Tuesday.
“I am not in the White House, I chose not to meet their president!” Kenney wrote in her post, which was first reported by WPXI-TV. “I came to Washington to meet and speak with senators that could have an impact on this movement!”
“I will not have a conversation with anyone who disrespects us as individuals!!! I will not have a conversation with someone that clearly will not have any empathy!!!” wrote Kenney, whose 17-year-old son’s killing and its aftermath received national media attention.
CNBC has requested comment from the White House on Kenney’s comments.
In a statement released later Tuesday, Kenney said her family didn’t meet with Trump and had no plans to.
“Contrary to reports, I did not meet with the President today at the White House. I came to Washington with one sole intention – to meet and speak with the Senators that are devoted to establishing legislation that will encourage better police practices,” she said. “While my family and I appreciate that the President referenced Antwon’s name in his speech, we wanted to clarify that we never met with the President under any circumstances and do not plan to.”
Antwon Rose II was shot three times by then-East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld in June 2018. Rose had been a passenger in a car that matched the description of a car that was involved in a drive-by shooting shortly before and nearby the traffic stop.
Rosfeld was found not guilty in March 2019 of a charge of criminal homicide.
“I’ve just concluded a meeting with incredible families just incredible families that have been through so much,” Trump said Tuesday. “The families of Ahmaud Arbery, Botham Jean, Antwon Rose, Jemel Roberson, Atatiana Jefferson, Michael Dean, Darius Tarver, Cameron Lamb, and Everett Palmer,” Trump said.
“These are incredible people. Incredible people. And it’s so sad,” said the president, whose new order came after weeks of protests on the heels of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody on Memorial Day.
Floyd, who was Black, died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest on suspicion of using a counterfeit bill.
“Your loved ones will not have died in vain,” Trump said addressing the families Tuesday. “I can never imagine your pain or the depth of your anguish, but I can promise to fight for justice for all of our people.”
Kenney scoffed at Trump’s statement in her post, saying she would not be part of “any media ploys,” and that her son’s death and its aftermath is not a photo op “for me.”
“It’s my life, and the life of my daughter, grand daughter, my family and our friends,” Kenney wrote.
Rose’s family last fall received a $2 million settlement from the City of East Pittsburgh after filing a federal civil rights lawsuit.
The family’s lawyer, S. Lee Merritt, said after the settlement that the goal of the suit “was to come up with a figure that would cause police officers in the East Pittsburgh area to think before they pull the trigger and force the city to consider better training,” according to The New York Times.