The first night of rallying against the shooting of Antwon Rose by East Pittsburgh police, turned into a march that lead to a protest on the Parkway East. Traffic was blocked and the highway was shut down in both directions for over 6 hours.
While many cars were able to turn around and be redirected, big rigs and Mack Trucks were stuck until the protest ended in the middle of the night.
Among the reporters on the field was Beau Berman. We found a video of him interviewing two truckers.
The contents of this video may be shocking to some. It could cause chills or even tears. Emotions may take you to unexpected places, down twists and turns of surprise, over hills of stereotyping and around corners of empathy. Only to find yourself in the realization that, as Bill Peduto said, we are all one.
Thank you Gene & Robert. This gave me hope.
These two white men are truckers. Protests for #AntwonRose blocked the highway and these men, after 5 hours with protestors, saw the video for the first time and were moved to call for justice for Antwon.
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) June 23, 2018
Full transcript of the video:
Beau: Hello once again out here on the parkway, still shut down, and if you’ve been watching our coverage over the past several hours now, you’ve seen me talk to people who are part of the rally, we’ve talked to a police chief, we’ve talked to everybody involved in this in some capacity. I noticed earlier tonight obviously there’s these semi-trucks that are pulled over and cannot get through, there are some drivers talking to some of the people who are part of the rally actually, who they’ve never met until tonight. A couple of those drivers are here with me right now, Gene and Robert. Gene, what’s going through your head, as someone who’s now stuck on this parkway right now.
Gene: Well there’s a lot of different things that are going through my head. I guess the one thing is why was this young man’s life taken? I mean, he’s gone, you know. I seen the video.
Beau: You saw the video. Had you seen it before tonight?
Gene: No. I just come down from upper PA. Nah, I just seen it maybe a half hour ago. The officer was wrong. Now, you know, I don’t know his history or how long he’d been on the force, but what I seen on that video, the officer was dead wrong, and he took a life. A life that shouldn’t have been taken, in my opinion. And I’m not from here.
Beau: You’re from Arizona you told me, right?
Gene: Yes sir, yes.
Beau: So you could’ve technically stayed in your truck tonight and just looked at your phone or done whatever, gone to sleep, I don’t know. But you decided to come out along with Robert here and talk with people in the rally, which I thought was interesting. Why’d you do that?
Gene: I just… I wanted to know why this was going on. You know. And I go to talking to a gentleman over here and I said well I’d like to see that video. So he showed it to me. And I just… I don’t know. Something’s gotta be done, because you can’t have people shooting people in the back.
Transcribed by boringpittsburgh.com
Beau: Do you figure… you know, people… one of the answers is accountability, whenever there’s a shooting like this, that sometimes the police office is charged?
Gene: Oh, most definitely.
Robert: Charge him like we would be charged.
Beau: (Looks at Robert) Can I ask you a question, is that ok?
Beau: You’re out here as well… This is Robert, another guy who was driving one of larger trucks.
Beau: You’ve been stopped here for…
Robert: Over 4 and half hours.
Beau: 4 and a half hours?
Transcribed by boringpittsburgh.com
Beau: You also got out and talked to some of the young ladies, some of the people here protesting, why’d you do that and what’s going through your mind?
Robert: Same reason. I mean to find out what was going on, what happened. And once you see the videos, they speak for themselves really. I mean I don’t know what was going through his mind. But it was an innocent life taken.
Beau: You saw, Antwon Rose Jr. is his name, in the video, and you can see him running away from the car.
Robert: Well that was my main question, why was he running, but you know, 17 year old… scared… you know. Instincts take over and there was no reason to be shot, you know. Just sad.
Gene: Supposedly been 3 times.
Beau: 3 times. 3 times… so you guys, you know, are here you’re listening, you’re watching the video, you are stuck here… you’ve been stuck. Is it frustrating or are you ok with it because of the greater situation here?
Gene: Well the whole picture… Yeah, I’m good with it, man, you know. I think they’re doing a good thing. Their gonna get their point across, and you know that’s good. Cause this killing has got to stop. Not just here, but throughout the nation, you know… it’s terrible.
Beau: The country seems sad about this, just seems very sad. One thing, I mean people can argue about this all day long, but… it seems like this gets attention, what this group is doing here tonight.
Gene: Oh yeah, definitely. They’re definitely raising eyebrows, and I don’t think it’s just with the people in the city of Pittsburgh or wherever we are. I think the police force is really going to look at this real close. They better, because if they don’t, they’re really going to have problems.
Beau: And ultimately the way that these things work is it comes down to the District Attorney, usually in the area of wherever the jurisdiction is. We’re in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. That’s Stephen Zappala, he’s the DA. So, you know, he’s a trained attorney. He looks at these cases, he’s supposed to investigate these. If you could say something to the DA tonight, the district attorney, just about this investigation, who’s going to look at this about fairness, or whatever, after watching that video, what would you say?
Gene: I don’t like to pass judgement on people, but you know…
Beau: Or just advice, what would want him to do?
Gene: I would want him to really investigate it. And don’t try to cover it up, don’t try to push it underneath the carpet. That crap is over with, man. No one wants that anymore. We want action. I seen a couple little kids out here a little bit ago. Who would want to see that little kid get killed, shot, you know… for no reason. It’s crazy.
Beau: Right, we’ve seen that in this country. In Cleveland there was the case of the boy named Tamir Rice who was shot to death for holding, I believe a fake gun… or plastic gun. A fake gun, you know…
Robert: In an open carry state.
Beau: In an open carry state. And we also have obviously in this case right here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania… or East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, right by Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania… now, Antwon Rose Junior. 17 Years old. A student. A poem came out today that he wrote 2 years ago, basically saying that “I hope I don’t become a statistic,” and then, you know, obviously we saw what happened. So, very interesting to see you guys, stuck in those trucks back there, disrupting your night, obviously. But people part of the rally have said this disrupted Antwon Rose’s life, he can’t be here, he’s not alive. His family forever…
Gene: …Is gonna love him. I mean they’re going to miss that boy, you know. I mean, we’ll get over this as truck drivers. That family is going to suffer for the rest of their lives. And, my opinion is, like you just asked me… The DA needs to really, really look at this and don’t do no whitewashing. Let’s get it out in the open. Let’s get it taken care of, so this don’t happen no more.
Beau: That’s what hundreds of people want to see here tonight. They’ve been marching since 6:00, miles and miles. Sadness, emotion here tonight after the killing of this young man on Tuesday night. Very close to here, actually. And that’s where the rally started tonight at 6:00, it ended up here on Parkway East. Both lanes. Inbound, outbound. 200 people here at one point.
Without watching the video, imagine a screenshot of two bearded truckers, one with a beard down to his belt, being interviewed about being stuck in their trucks for hours over police shooting a black teenager in the back.
What is the first assumption you would make?
Many reporters would have played on this assumption by looking for angry truckers to express opposition to the protests. Beau not only gave these gentlemen a chance to share their thoughts, but he asked them thought provoking questions for 8 minutes of what turned out to be thought provoking answers.
As Beau said more than once, it’s very interesting to see these guys stuck in traffic for hours, then getting out to learn more and in some capacity joining the protest. Meanwhile, there were people at home tweeting horrible and violent things that they would do if they were the ones stuck like that.
Beau Berman interviews various people every time he steps into the field of news coverage, but you could tell that he knew how important and powerful this was going to be. Well done, Beau! Here’s to your next Emmy and Edward R. Murrow awards.
Follow @BeauWTAE on Twitter.