Owner Of Dog Killed By Hawthorne Police Begs Public To 'Calm Down'
The owner of a dog shot and killed by police in a now notorious incident has asked the public to stop making threats against the officers involved.
Leon Rosby held a press conference July 3 asking everyone to "just calm down. Stop threatening them and their families. All police officers are not bad," NBC News reports.
His Rottweiler, Max, was shot four times by police as they were attempting to take Rosby into custody. He had been filming them as they were making a separate arrest. The incident was caught on video and loaded to YouTube, where it's provoked national outrage and numerous death threats to the officers and their families. The officers have had to be assigned to desk duty and their families placed under protection.
Meanwhile, Hawthorne police released a new video taken from a different angle that they say shows the officer was justified in his shooting. In the second video, the officer who shot the dog can be seen pointing a gun at it before it lunges toward him. His face and that of the other officers have been obscured. According to the police, this video shows "there wasn't anything else that could have been done."
In a video interview after the incident, Rosby agreed that the officer had his gun drawn before his dog, Max, lunged at the, saying, "He had his gun drawn already. So he came over to kill [my dog]."
Police issued a statement Wednesday saying, "This Department truly feels in the loss of the Rottweiler dog 'Max' and for those impacted by such. We, as a department, as animal owners ourselves, and the officer directly involved himself, all relate and empathize in this."
Hawthorne Police Chief Robert Fager said that his department is taking the threats—delivered phone calls, e-mail and social media—very seriously. "These aren't just threats off ill-will. These are absolutely threats to life."
The department does not provide training specific to aggressive dogs, Fager told NBC News. After the enormous public outcry, they might want to rethink that.
Rosby is set to appear in court next month. He's been charged with obstruction.
UPDATE, 10:45 A.M.:
The hacker group Anonymous has also threatened the Hawthorne police, saying in a YouTube video that they are the group's "primary target."
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