Hawthorne Dog Police Shooting

Hawthorne Dog Police Shooting

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Updated Jun 18, 2015 at 12:45PM EDT by Brad.

Added Jul 03, 2013 at 01:20AM EDT by Derpy Vaz.

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Hawthorne Dog Police Shooting was the fatal shooting of a two-year-old Rottweiler dog by police officers during the roadside arrest of its owner Leon Rosby in Hawthorne, California.


On June 30th, 2013, police officers surrounded a house where a suspected robbery had taken place. A video recorded by YouTuber Gabriel Martinez shows Rosby filming the police on the sidewalk with his dog Max. As police approach Rosby, he can be seen placing the dog inside his car before putting his hands behind his back. After Rosby is handcuffed, the dog jumps through the open window of the car and runs toward the officers. One officer fired four shots at the Rottweiler, killing him shortly after. That evening, Martinez uploaded the video to YouTube, which received over 2.7 million views and 48,200 comments within the first 72 hours.

Warning: Graphic Violence

Notable Developments

Online Reactions

On July 1st, the video was submitted to the /r/videos[1] subreddit, where it was subsequently deleted by moderators. Over the course of the next several hours, the video was submitted several more times.[2][3] Also on June 30th, 2013, 4chan posters began spreading false information that the Hawthorne Police Department's public relations officer was the shooter and the video was posted on the "Anonymous" Facebook[6] page.

Leon Rosby's Interview

On July 2nd, the BreakingNews2013 YouTube channel uploaded an interview with Rosby, in which he recounts the events that took place leading to the killing of his dog (shown below). In the interview, Rosby named police officer Jeffrey Salmon as the man who shot the Rottweiler.

Official Response

On the same day, the Hawthorne Police Department put up an incident report on their Facebook[9] page and announced that their public relations officer was not responsible for the shooting. In a press release, the department claimed that the officer had no time to use other methods to detain the dog and encouraged the public to not quickly paint the agency as "animal killers."[5]

Hawthorne Police Followw Area of Jefferson/137th shut down due to police activity. Reply Retweet ★ Favorite More 7:21 PM-30 Jun 13 Kevin Pereiraea 1 Jul There a dog park in the area? Pet adoption in need of pepper-spraying? RT @HawthomePD: Jefferson/137th shut down due to police activity Details :33 PM-1 Jul 13 Details Gabe Rivera Ogaberivera @HawthornePD ..where 'activity" means killing an innocent bystander's dog? youtube.com/watch?v=ffwxaT·.. Details 1 Jul fuimaono-sapolu Eliota Sapolu @HawthornePD Are you the racist assholes who arrested the innocent black man and murdered his dog? You f------ pathetic pricks! Details 11h Drew Matich Bdrewmatich @HawthornePD so's the activity on your Twitter feed. Trying to make up a good story to cover for the ignorance of your force? Details Sh Charlie Sheena CharlieSheena YOUR OFFICERS OF THEHawthornePD ARE THE MOST DESPICABLE PIECES OF S--- THAT HAVE EVEF LIVED intellihub.com/2013/07/02/haw... Details 2h Charlie Sheena CharlieSheena If you don't terminate the officer that opened fire on that dog that wasn't even bothering him @HawthornePD will suffer great consequences Details 2hHawthornePD Like This Page . 20 hours ago PRESS RELEASE (Costiaued) HAWTHORNE POLICE DEPARTMENT Suitable for Publie Dissemination 酩 Lieutenant Swain is our Public Informations Officer. He was not at the scene of the incident. 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 'nterference with Officer(s) POLIc 50 South Hawtherne Boulevard.Hawthorne.Californi95 Like Comment Share PRESS RELEASE 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 policies and procedures. Additionally, the Department is truly sensitive to the invariable loss of the dog in this incident. 232 people like this 288 shares View previous comments Issued: July 1. 2013 Suitable For Public Dissemination 2 of 5,674 The Hawthorne Police Department asks that if any personal video taken by citizens present at this incident is willing to be shared in our Investigation, please contact us. Chrissy Fottermi Disgraceful PD! a few seconds ago via mobile Like OBSTRUCTION ARREST OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING Niko Polychronic Another cop that can't keep the 'peace keeper' holstered. How disgusting for Mr. Rosby to have to watch his friend die like that. Justice to the swine! By the people, for the people! a few seconds ago via mobile Like On June 3o, 2013, at approximately 5:44pm, Officers from the Hawthorne Police Department responded to a residence in the area o137h 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. Write a comment... During this evolving critical incident and the extraction of suspects from the home, Officers containing the location were interfered with by an idividual. This interference included loud, distracting music (from the individual's vehicle), and his intentional walking within close-proximity to armed officers, while holding an 8o-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 Contact: Lieutenant Scott Swain Detective Bureau Commander /Public Information Officer (310) 349-2835 Desk Contact: Lieutenant Scott Swain Detective Bureau Commander/Public Information Officer (310) 349-2835 Desk

Officer Salmon's History

On July 2nd, The Examiner[7] published an article reporting that Officer Salmon was one of seven Hawthorne Police Department officers charged with alleged deprivation of civil rights resulting from excessive force, denial of medical treatment and malicious prosecution, stemming from an incident that occurred on July 21st, 2006. The Hawthorne Police Department settled that lawsuit for one million dollars.

Rosby's Lawsuit

Also on July 2nd, the LA Times[4] published an interview with Rosby's attorney Michael Gulden, who argued that police were retaliating against Rosby for a previous lawsuit filed against the department and that he was a victim of racial discrimination.

"There's been a pattern of harassment against him and other African-Americans in Hawthorne. Last July, the police responded to his home and beat him unnecessarily, then threw him in jail for no reason. We sued for that. We'll amend that complaint to include the dog incident."

YouTube Reactions

Several YouTubers uploaded videos in response to the incident, many of which discussed whether or not the police were justified in their actions.


Death Threats

By July 1st, the Hawthorne Police Department website had become inaccessible due to heavy traffic and the Facebook page became flooded with a stream of unpleasant comments. The Hawthorne Police operation center also became inundated with a heavy volume of phone calls, reportedly receiving about 75 phone calls an hour. By Monday evening, when the video first hit the Internet, the Dispatch Center had received 950 calls over the span of eight hours.[12] On July 3rd, three police officers involved in the shooting were pulled from street duty, following reports of numerous death threats against them and their families. The spokesperson for Hawthorne Police Department was quoted as saying "most of the calls are from people offering opinions, but some threats deemed 'valid' are under investigation by other law enforcement agencies. Officers in the field have been told to be 'extra vigilant.'"


Several petitions have been set up to ask for the firing of Jeffrey Salmon[13] and an outside investigation into all officers involved.[14]

Swain's Art Supplies in Glendale

A Facebook site was established to demand the removal of Hawthorne Police Chief Robert Fager, mistakenly posted the art store's phone number so angry readers could attack Swain. The store received about 100 calls through Tuesday from people angry about the shooting, blaming Lori Wiest for an association with Swain that doesn't exist. Wiest co-owns Swain's Art Supplies in Glendale, the Swains haven't been involved in the business for decades, and Scott Swain isn't related to them.[11]

New Video Surfaces

On July 3rd, an anonymous man turns in video to Hawthone Police Dept. The video shows a closer view and better audio of what lead to Leon Rosby's arrest.

Anonymous Response

On July 3rd, YouTuber OverrideAnonymous released a video on behalf of Anonymous announcing that the group will retaliate against the Hawthorne Police Department for the killing of the dog. While the video didn't reveal any specific targets or methods of delivery, an anonymous source within the department confirmed that the official website has been offline as a result of a major DDoS attack since July 1st. In addition, a police officer's name, badge number and address was leaked online as well. In response, Hawthorne's computer forensics officers and city information technology specialists were called into duty to investigate the cyberattack.

"Police of Hawthorne you must know that you are our primary target. This matter will not remain unresolved… We do not forgive, we do not forget. Expect us."

Police Respond to Anonymous Threats

Hawthorne Police are bracing for possible cyberattacks by the group “Anonymous”. They are collaborating with federal agencies and Internet security specialists as they beef up firewalls and evaluate threats to its officers and police station. "We’ve actually brought in our IT department around-the-clock to start upgrading and working on our information systems and firewall systems for upgrades,” said Hawthorne police Sgt. Joel Romero.[16]


Protests in front of Hawthorne Police Dept. went on without any complications Saturday July 6th. Only a small gathering of about a few dozen protesters showed up to show support for Max. Some with their dogs and some with signs saying "Justice for Max" and "Max we love you," Leon Rosby was there with his two kids, "I wanted to let the protesters know that we really appreciate their love and support for Max and I. It's awesome to see this," he said. "It kind of helps the healing for me because it lets me know that we were loved."[15]

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