A blog by spcaLA president, Madeline Bernstein

Jul 2, 2013

Hawthorne Police Gun Down Dog In Front Of Owner

Gabriel Martinze via YouTube
During an arrest of Leon Rosby for obstructing a police action, Hawthorne police officers shot and killed his  dog Max.  A spectator captured the incident on video, which has over half a million views on YouTube.

The video shows Rosby, who was filming a blockade by police with his phone, being approached by Hawthorne PD officers.  Rosby then put his Rottweiler into the backseat of his vehicle and presented himself to the officers.  As he  was handcuffed, his dog, Max, began barking and jumped out of the back window of Rosby’s car to aid his Rosby.  The officer shot the dog multiple times who,staggered, convulsed and died on the street as Rosby stood by helplessly. 

We are entitled to expect more from trained law enforcement personnel than panic. We expect that the difference between a trained officer carrying weapons and a civilian doing the same is training, discipline and control. I can panic - they cannot. Yet again, we see another instance of shoot first and ask questions later. In this video - the officer came around towards the dog with his weapon drawn - clearly demonstrating a decision to use lethal force first, rather than as a last resort. Where was the attempt at a non lethal alternative or solution? At the least - a thorough investigation into the training of all officers as well as into the specific behavior of these officers is warranted. 

The problem here is that even if it is determined that the shooting was not righteous - Max is gone for good.