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Hawthorne dog shooting: Protest held in front of police department

July 6, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Demonstrators are out in front of the Hawthorne Police Department Saturday morning, protesting the shooting of a dog by one of their officers.

A handful of people stood with signs, some bringing their own dogs, to express their displeasure with the killing of a dog last Sunday. The incident was caught on video and immediately went viral, with nearly four million views on YouTube.

The 2-year-old Rottweiler named Max was shot and killed by the police officer while his owner, Leon Rosby, was being taken into custody, accused of obstructing a robbery investigation. The dog jumped out of a car and approached the officers, which was when one of the officers opened fire.

"There were so many other options that the officers could have taken other than discharge their weapons on the dog," said Thom Palmer of Corona. "Max was under control. I even thought Leon was under control. I didn't see any reason for any of it happening. I just think that police officers have to use their heads."

A video allegedly posted by the self-described "hacktivist" group Anonymous threatens retaliation against the police department. Their message: "Police of Hawthorne, you must know that you are our primary target. This matter will not remain unresolved."

The Hawthorne Police Department has been swamped with phone calls and emails calling for the officer who killed the dog to be fired. There have also been death threats.

Rosby said he supports the idea of peaceful protests. Right now, he's still grieving the loss of his dog.

"It is amazing how much I miss him right now. It's amazing how much it hurt," said Rosby.

Rosby has a lawsuit pending against the Hawthorne Police Department due to an incident that happened last year. He is suing the department for wrongful imprisonment and battery.

The protest is scheduled to end at 2 p.m. Barricades are out, and police have also hired extra IT workers to keep a close eye on the police department's website.


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