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Hawthorne dog shooting: Shop falsely linked to case gets hate calls

July 2, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Glendale art store is being flooded with hate calls after being falsely linked to a Hawthorne police officer whose department was involved in the shooting death of a Rottweiler. That shooting was caught on camera and the video was posted online.

Lori Wiest, who owns Swain's Art Store, says she is getting dozens of calls after the video, which shows a Hawthorne police officer shooting and killing a dog, went viral on YouTube.

She said in some cases, she picks up the phone and the person hangs up. In other cases, the callers are angry and aggressive.

"It's been a horrible day," she said.

It appears that bloggers found the name of a Hawthorne police officer named Swain and linked it to Swain's Art Store even though the two are not connected at all.

"Not related at all. Please people, stop calling. Please, I beg of you," said Wiest.

The Hawthorne Police Department posted a statement on its Facebook page explaining that Lt. Swain is the public information officer and was not at the scene of the incident. Still, thousands of people have posted comments expressing outrage over the shooting.

The Internet frenzy continues and the YouTube video has more than a million hits. There are some websites that still show the art store's phone number and address. Glendale police are monitoring the area.

Some callers did apologize when they were told there's no connection. Customers say this shows how fast misinformation can move on the Internet and how difficult it is to correct it.

"These people are horrible. They are saying horrible things to me and I have nothing to do with this. I just want it to all stop," said Wiest.