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On June 30th the Hawthorne Police Department were called to the area of 137th Street & Jefferson Avenue, City of Hawthorne California and were responding to a call for an armed robbery. When the police officers arrived at the location they were uable to immediately apprehend the suspects involved in the robbery. This "stand-off" between the police officers and the suspects lasted for over apparently one hour and forty-five minutes which gathered much attention from many other residents or close neighbors on the same street.

A Two Hour "Stand-off" Gathers the Neighborhoods Attention

There are several videos that were recorded during this time in which you can clearly see other residents or citizens roaming the streets, in or around the same area that you can see Leon Rosby and his dog Max. By now all of this comotion with the robbery and "stand-off" had gathered much attention from onlookers who were walking around videotaping, taking pictures, walking dogs like Max, or even just trying to catch a peek at what was going on.

A Man Who Hadn't Committed a Single Crime

After some time some officers became aggitated at Mr.Leon Rosby and began to approach him and his dog Max, who he had firmly on a leash. Mr. Rosby decided that it would be best to put Max inside his vehicle while the officers approached him and he did so. The officers grabbed Mr.Rosby and put his hands behind his back and began to arrest Mr. Rosby - A man who hadn't committed a single crime other than being a curious onlooker like many others in videos of this incident unfolding. Last time we checked, it wasn't a criminal offense to do anything that we can see him or any of the other onlookers doing in the videos.

Mr.Rosby Pleads with Officers - "Don't Shoot My Dog Please"

While the officers were aggresively aprehending Mr.Rosby Max jumped out the window of the vehicle. Max did not charge the police officers to protect his owner like any loyal and concerned pet dog would have tried. Instead, he jumped out of the vehicle and in less than a running pace (for a dog) went to go casually check on his owner. The act of Max jumping out of the vehicle startles the police officers, who seem like they're not sure know how to respond to the situation. Max even gets close enough to his owner and police officers at first and does not even flinch at them or lunge in any way. While this is happening you can clearly hear Mr. Rosby pleading with the police officers not to shoot his dog. One officer gets closer to max to attempt to grab the leash at the same time the other officer jerks Mr.Rosby away from Max. Max puts his two paws up towards one of the officers in what looks like a friendly explorative manner and the officer begins to unload round after round from his semi-automatic 9mm handgun. Max is struck by multiple bullets and frantically falls on the ground rolling around on his back convulsing and yelping, not sure what has just happened.

Police Officer Shoots Max as First Option to Resolve Situation

It is very clear in the video that Max suffered tremendously in this very tragic situation. It is also very clear in the video that the officers involved were not in any immenent danger imposed by Max. The actions that were made by the involved offer lead me to believe that one of the following, a combination of the following or even all of the following are true.

  1. He was not properly educated or trained how to face, handle or resolve situations or encounters with animals and pets while on duty.
  2. That the officer involved in absolutely no way tried to resolve the situation in a non-lethal manner which should have been the first consideration and action he took (pepper spray would have been a viable option to control the situation).
  3. The officer involved abused his position as a police officer and wanted an excuse to use his firearm and kill Max (possibly because Mr. Rosby was pleading for him not to shoot his dog).

You Be The Judge - Watch The Video Yourself

WARNING: This Video Contains Graphic Content NOT Suitable for Children

The Hawthorne Police Department Press Release

" On June 30, 2013, at approximately 5:44pm, Officers from the Hawthorne Police Department responded to a residence in the area of 137th Street & Jefferson Avenue, City of Hawthorne, 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 system, 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 the home 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 toward 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)’. " 

Lieutenant Swain
Detective Bureau Commander / Public Information Officer
(310) 349-2700


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