‘I Am Not What You Think’: Pittsburgh Area Teen Wrote Poem About Police Brutality Before Being Fatally Shot by Officer

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“I see mothers bury their sons. I want my mom to never feel that pain.”

Two years ago, Antwon Rose wrote those prescient lines in a poem for his 10th grade honors English class. He titled it, “I am not what you think.”

He refused to be “just a statistic,” the African-American teenager wrote.

On Tuesday, an East Pittsburgh police officer fatally shot the unarmed 17-year-old, who ran as police stopped a vehicle suspected of being involved in a shooting in a nearby community, the Allegheny County Police said. The officer was placed on administrative leave as the department investigates, police said.

In a few days, Antwon’s mother will bury him.

His family released the poem Thursday through the Woodland Hills School District, where he attended school.

Antwon’s mother wanted the world to read the poem her son wrote. He wrote about being “confused and afraid,” wondering about the path he would take in life. The poem was read aloud at a rally Thursday in front of the Allegheny County Courthouse in Pittsburgh.

“I understand people believe I’m just a statistic,” Antwon wrote. “I say to them I’m different.”

He dreamed, he wrote, “of life getting easier.”

Here is the poem in its entirety:

The Woodland Hills School District in Pennsylvania released this poem written by student Antwon Rose, who was fatally shot by police outside Pittsburgh on June 20, 2018.

The Woodland Hills School District in Pennsylvania released this poem written by student Antwon Rose, who was fatally shot by police outside Pittsburgh on June 20, 2018.

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