Friends and relatives of wounded Clairton police Officer James Kuzak gathered this afternoon outside the Allegheny County courthouse to show their support for him after a jury on Thursday found two men not guilty of shooting him during a home invasion last year.
More than a dozen people held signs urging justice for the officer, who uses a wheelchair and said he is "dejected" but not discouraged by the verdict.
Officer Kuzak speaks at courthouse rally
Friends and relatives of wounded Clairton police Officer James Kuzak gathered this afternoon outside Allegheny County Courthouse to show their support for him after a jury found two men not guilty of shooting him. (Video by Carl Romanos; 8/17/2011)
"To see everyone here behind me, I can't feel anything but great," Officer Kuzak told the supporters who had gathered under a portico to avoid the rain.
The officer said he is hopeful that Allegheny County police detectives will arrest the man who shot him; a jury convicted Emilio Rivera, 27, of counts of robbery, burglary unlawful restraint and other crimes stemming from the home invasion but acquitted him of charges related to the shooting. The jury cleared a second man, Marcus Andrejco, 19, of all charges against him in the case.
"We trusted the system when I was working, we have no other choice but to trust it again," Officer Kuzak told the crowd.
They held signs that read, "If this is justice, we're all in trouble!" and "Sometimes there is justice and sometimes there is just us."
Among those in the group was Clairton Mayor Rich Lattanzi and city manager Howard Bednar, who said he is troubled to think the shooter of a police officer still walks free.
"It's a sad day for Clairton, a sad day for Allegheny County and a sad day for the justice system," Mr. Lattanzi said.
First Published August 17, 2012 3:30 PM