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Were Hawthorne police justified in killing man's dog during arrest? (video)

After arresting Leon Rosby, his two-year-old Rottweiler, Max, jumps out of the car. Max barks and jumps at one of the officers, and the officer shoots him four times.
After arresting Leon Rosby, his two-year-old Rottweiler, Max, jumps out of the car. Max barks and jumps at one of the officers, and the officer shoots him four times.

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A seemingly routine arrest from last Sunday has turned into a viral video on YouTube, and the Hawthorne Police Department are under fire for shooting a dog.

According to the Hawthorne Police Department, officers were responding to an armed robbery when a dog-walking bystander, Leon Rosby, was blasting loud music from his car and filming too close to the scene. Rosby put his 80-pound two-year old Rottweiler into the car with the windows down.

Then, the police peacefully took Rosby into custody. However, the rottweiler, Max, started to bark and jumped out of the car. Max jumped at one of the officers and the officer shot the dog four times. As the dog very graphically twitched around on the ground, neighbors screamed.

Warning: This video contains graphic content depicting a dog being killed. It may be disturbing to some people. 

The Hawthorne Police Department later arrested Rosby for “Interference with Officer(s)” and is currently investigating the situation. Rosby plans on filing a lawsuit against the Hawthorne Police Department.

Are the arrest of Leon Rosby and the shooting of the rottweiler justifiable? How should officers react when witnesses are filming police activity?

Larry Altman, crime and courts reporter for the South Bay newspaper The Daily Breeze, based in Torrance

Michael Gulden, attorney representing Leon Rosby, the owner of the rottweiler (Max) shot by Hawthorne PD on Sunday afternoon

Statement from the Hawthorne Police Department on the incident:

On June 30, 2013, at approximately 5:44pm, Officers from the Hawthorne Police Department responded to a residence in regard to an armed robbery - gun used -- which occurred to two individuals inside of a home. Upon arrival, Officers engaged several subjects involved in the robbery, who quickly barricaded themselves in the home and refused orders to come out. Officers used several resources, including the Department's armored tactical vehicle and a loud-speaker vehicle, in an attempt to communicate and bring the incident to safe resolution. After an approximate one hour and forty-five minute standoff, the individuals surrendered from teahouse and the suspect responsible for the robbery was identified and arrested.

During this evolving critical incident and the extraction of suspects from the home, Officers containing the location were interfered with by an individual. This interference included loud, distracting music (from the individual's vehicle), and his intentional walking within close proximity to armed Officers, while holding an 80-pound Rottweiler on a long leash-line. These acts, in totality, created an increasingly dangerous situation and demanded officers' focus away from the matter at hand. By comparison, numerous citizens were filming similarly as the suspect, but from a safe distance and compliant to Officers' regards.

Once all parties to the original robbery incident were apprehended, two officers approached this suspect to address the violation(s) of law. Just prior to approach, the suspect placed his dog back into his car, but did not close the windows. AS the suspect was being taken into custody, his Rottweiler became agitated and jumped out of the car, approaching the officers who were making the arrest. An assisting officer came to aid and attempted to control the Rottweiler, first by gaining control of the leash. However, the dog lunged and made aggressive movements towards the officer(s). Fearing that the attacking Rottweiler would imminently bite the officer(s), one officer fired his duty weapon several times, striking and killing the dog. The suspect, later identified as Leon Rosby, was arrested and booked at the Hawthorne Police Department Jail for 'Interference with Officer(s)'.

The Hawthorne Police Department is conducting a comprehensive investigation into the actions of each party, our Officers, and to ensure appropriate adherence to our Department polices and procedures. Additionally, the Department is truly sensitive to the invariable loss of the dog in this incident.

The Hawthorne Police Department asks that if any personal video taken by citizens present at the incident is wiling to be shared in our Investigation, please contact us.