(Reuters) - A largely peaceful protest in Pittsburgh grew tense on Friday when demonstrators, demanding justice for an unarmed black teenager who was killed by a policeman, blocked traffic and were confronted by police in riot gear, media reported.
Police made four arrests during the hours-long demonstration that wound through the streets of the Steel City as hundreds of protesters blocked intersections and major thoroughfares, disrupting rush-hour and Friday-night traffic, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and a CNN affiliate reported.
Protesters have taken to the streets nightly this week since Antwon Rose, 17, was shot and killed by an East Pittsburgh police officer as he ran from a vehicle after it was stopped by police who were searching for a suspect in an earlier drive-by shooting.
The death of Rose was the latest in a string of killings of black men by police that have triggered street protests and fueled a renewed national debate about bias in the U.S. criminal justice system.
Friday’s protest stopped at one point in front of PNC Park where Major League Baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates played the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Security at the ballpark locked one of the main gates due to the protest as fans attempted to leave the extra-inning game, the Post-Gazette reported.
“I’m a big supporter of our military and police, and (the protesters) have no right to be obstructing people like they are,” to the newspaper quoted a man as saying.
The man confronted protesters before police escorted him away from the scene.
A Mercedes Benz raced by the protest after demonstrators stopped at a parking garage. No one was hurt in the incident, but police responded in full riot gear, the newspaper reported.
Since Tuesday, video footage captured on a cell phone of the police shooting has circulated widely on social media.
The clip showed two men running away from a car that was stopped in front of two police cars. Both men appear to fall to the ground as gunfire is heard.
“I briefly saw it. It’s important, however it has to be taken into context with the entire investigation,” said Allegheny County Police Department Superintendent Coleman McDonough during a news conference after the shooting.
The second man who ran away remains at large. Police interviewed and released a third man, the driver of the vehicle.
Two guns were found in the vehicle, the Allegheny County Police Department said.
The department said in a statement on Friday that reports of video footage of the drive-by shooting showing Rose firing a gun and that gun residue was found on Rose’s hands are false.
Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Robert Birsel