The judge overseeing the homicide trial of a Pennsylvania police officer charged in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager as he fled a traffic stop has recused himself from the case.
Judge Anthony Mariani made his decision Wednesday, citing an “appearance of impropriety.”
Attorney Patrick Thomassey, who represents East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld, had asked Mariani to recuse himself. Thomassey cited comments Marianai made on a cable news program about whether the shooting was justified before he was assigned to the case.
Mariani will be replaced by Judge Alexander Bicket, who issued a gag order Wednesday in the case.
Rosfeld is charged in the June shooting death of 17-year-old Antwon Rose Jr.
Lawyers for Rose’s family said they believed Mariani could be impartial but added his decision showed his integrity. They also praised Bicket’s abilities and said he would handle the case fairly.