A case in the city of Hawthorne in Los Angeles County, Calif., has developed rapidly after video of police shooting and killing a dog owned by a man they were arresting made it to YouTube.
Leon Rosby, 52, tells the Daily Breeze that the cops killed his Rottweiler, Max, in cold blood. “There was no way Max should have died like that,” Rosby said. “Max was only protecting his master. He was trying to stop them from beating on me.”
Rosby alleges that after getting too close to a SWAT standoff happening in the neighborhood, police arrested him for obstructing justice. The shooting of Max happened on Sunday, after police were in the area to take down a gunman who had robbed two people inside a nearby home. Several bystanders were also videotaping the standoff, when Rosby pulled up in his rented vehicle with Max playing loud music.
“It’s distracting the officers,” said Lt. Scott Swain of the Hawthorne police. “It’s interfering with what they are able to hear. It’s not just a party call. It’s an armed robbery call.”
Rosby admits to playing loud music but didn’t realize he was doing anything wrong.
“I do apologize if I didn’t immediately comply. The music may have been a little loud but I was complying,” Rosby said. “I said, ‘Sir, I want to make sure nobody’s civil rights were being violated.’ ”
After police nabbed their suspect, they moved to Rosby and asked him to turn down his radio. According to the video, Rosby put Max back into his vehicle and walked towards the cops with his hands behind his back. The actions agitated his dog, and the windows of the car were down.
Max leapt out of the car window, and the cops reacted with gunfire.
Watch video of officer shooting Rosby’s dog (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT):
“It looks like the officer tried to reach down and grab the leash, and then the dog lunges in the direction of him and the other officers there,” Lt. Swain added. “And I know it’s the dog’s master, and more than likely not going to attack him, (but) we’ve got a guy handcuffed that’s kind of defenseless. We have a duty to defend him, too.”
Rosby spent one night in jail for obstruction of justice, but it isn’t his first run-in with Hawthorne police. Rosby has filed several complaints against Hawthorne police, and he feels that his earlier encounters led to the aggression he encountered over the weekend.
“There’s been a pattern of harassment against him and other African-Americans in Hawthorne,” said Rosby’s attorney, Michael Gulden. “Last July, the police responded to his home and beat him unnecessarily, then threw him in jail for no reason. We sued for that. We’ll amend that complaint to include the dog incident.”
Hawthorne police officials issued a statement, saying that the officers acted within their rights to defend an attack from the dog. Rosby and Gulden are pressing forward with a pending lawsuit filed in March and adding this recent incident along with the complaint.