A video of police shooting a dog to death in front of its owner has gone viral after being posted to Reddit Monday afternoon.
The dog owner, Leon Rosby, was taking video of police officers in Hawthorne, Calif. as they barricaded a house, his attorney, Michael Gulden, confirmed to HuffPost. Gulden said he plans to file a lawsuit against the Hawthorne Police Department.
Another bystander behind Rosby was recording him, and can be heard saying that Rosby asked the police why there weren't any black cops present. This drew the attention of two Hawthorne police officers, who started to approach Rosby.
Rosby can then be seen putting his dog, which looks like a Rottweiler, into his car and voluntarily putting his hands behind his back to be arrested. As he was being handcuffed by the officers, the dog started barking and jumped out of the car.
As the dog approached the officers, barking, the police shot the dog several times. Police said they had no choice but to shoot as the dog lunged toward them.
"An assisting officer came to aid and attempted to control the Rottweiler, first by gaining control of the leash," the department said in a statement on Facebook. "However, the dog lunged and made aggressive movements towards the officer(s)."
Rosby was arrested for "interference with officers" because his "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 … created an increasingly dangerous situation and demanded officers' focus away from the matter at hand," the police statement said. Scroll down for the Hawthorne Police Department's full account of what happened.
Two hours after the video was posted to Reddit, it had 32,000 votes, but the comments were disabled because of Reddit's rule against, "witch-hunting or or incitement to witch hunt. This means no demanding 'Reddit justice' in any way in post titles or comments."
TO SEE THE ORIGINAL VIDEO, GO TO YOUTUBE.COM. WARNING: ORIGINAL VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC LANGUAGE AND IMAGERY.
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.