A few dozen people protested in front of the Hawthorne Police Department Saturday after a Rottweiler was fatally shot by police last week. The graphic video showing the incident has attracted 4.5 million views on YouTube, resulting in cyber threats, according to the department.
Included in the crowd was Leon Rosby, whose 2-year-old Rottweiler, Max, was shot. He showed up with his two kids Mykel and Joshua, 13 and 12 respectively.
"I wanted to let the protesters know that we really appreciate their love and support for Max and I. It's awesome to see this," he said. "It kind of helps the healing for me because it lets me know that we were loved."
Rosby said he'd like to see a full investigation of the incident including a review of officers.
"I want justice to be served. For the officer that shot Max, I want an investigation to take place. None of this should have happened. It's like a nightmare to me," he said.
Protesters, who held signs with messages such as "Justice for Max" and "Max we love you," asked that the officer who shot the dog be dismissed, and that the department be trained on dealing with animals.
Protester Andre Harrington, who is a former LA County Safety police officer and dog owner, said "[Police] should train these officers in how to be better-suited in using non-lethal weapons on animals. There's so many things these officers could have done prior to using lethal force."
Harrington suggested tazers, calling animal control or simply requesting the owner put the animal back in the car.
Sgt. Joe Romero said the department is open to implementing a training program, adding that a full investigation is underway. The department has a training program for police canine but no protocol for dealing with other dogs.
"You always learn from history and this is one incident that's at the forefront and we will definitely review all the practices that took place that day and we will try to implement and evaluate what are the best practices," said Romero.
Romero said police officers have been transferred to desk duty for safety reasons.
Hawthorne police told KPCC that the department is collaborating with federal agencies and Internet security specialists as they beef up firewalls and evaluate threats to its officers and police station.
This story has been updated.