Dogs & Laws

Hawthorne Police Gun Down Dog While Owner is Arrested

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Leon Rosby, 52, was walking his dog near a police barricade in Hawthorne, California yesterday. Rosby, citing “civil rights violation,” began using his cell phone to video record a group of SWAT officers some 60+ feet away.

The officers claim that Rosby was obstructing the barricade, and began to approach him. He quickly put his dog, a 2-year old Rottweiler named Max, into his vehicle with the windows rolled down, put his phone away and calmly approached the officers. When instructed, and without resistance, Rosby turned around and put his hands behind his back to be handcuffed.

Throughout the entire event, Rosby’s dog is calm, simply walking alongside his owner, no pulling on the leash, no barking at the police or the crowd of spectators that had gathered, just a well-mannered family pet.

It is when police begin handcuffing Rosby and forcing him toward a squad car, that Max begins to bark. When more officers approach and the group of them are patting down Rosby, Max jumps out of the car window and runs toward the officers, to his owners defense.

That’s when an officer fired 4 rounds at the dog, fatally injuring him.

A statement from the Hawthorne Police Department said “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.”

A dog doesn’t understand an arrest. A dog can’t discern a police uniform from civilian clothes. A dog only understands that his human is in danger. And Max didn’t deserve to die.

If you can stomach the video below (please be warned it is one of the most shocking, upsetting, unsettling, and disturbing videos we’ve ever seen), you’ll see that Max didn’t attack anyone. He wasn’t being particularly aggressive, but was certainly worried about his loyal friend, Rosby.

How could this situation have played out differently? Rosby never resisted arrest, nor was he an imminent threat to officers if they had un-cuffed him.

They could have released Rosby and given him a second to call off his well-behaved dog.

They should have used non-lethal force, like a TASER or pepper spray.


Leon Rosby plans to file a lawsuit against the Hawthorne Police Department for the wrongful death of his dog, Max. Rosby has several previous complaints against HPD, including one where he claims police broke his rib. One of the officers named in that lawsuit was present on the day that Max was shot and killed.

Whether you believe police acted appropriately in firing at the dog or not, it was recently shown that 50% of all intentional police shootings involve dogs. The majority of these are avoidable and preventable with proper training of police officers in body language and dog handling.

Max did not deserve to die.

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  1. Avatar Of Ian



    Still not very well trained as far as ive been informed, no surprise there . Duh???

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  3. Avatar Of Person



    the owner fucked the whole video, dont listen to the news. this dude took it upon himself to start shit with the police they ordered him a bunch of times they even let him put the dog in the car before he got arrested he should have been responsible and rolled up the fucking window.
    he didnt even walk his dog there he pulled up in his car and took the dog down in the middle of a fuckn stand off and was asking why arent there any black cops there?
    stupid fuck!!!!

    • Avatar Of Briana



      I agree. This individuale had no right to interfere with Police, This person was using his Dog as a personal guard, The Dog should have never been released from the vehicle in the first place. He was not walking this dog in the neighborhood and happened to crooss paths with the situation. He intentionaly stopped his car and”strong armed his presence upon the scene”. He is not a professional journalist . This guy was looking to interfere with Law Enforcement and unfortunatly his dog suffered the cosequences of his bad judgment and his owners irresponsible heed to protect and look out for his pets safety!

  4. Avatar Of Ben



    That cop is a complete chicken shit!

  5. Avatar Of Roger



    Good read:

    I agree that the owner was an idiot. But cops deal with idiots all the time. They are trained for it. Cops are great at it!! We have to admit though that there have been instances that Police Officers have made very bad choices even though their training directed them towards a different course of actions.

    However, I don’t think these officers or officer had the right training to deal with dogs. It’s a fact: LAPD trains its officers to calm situations with dogs down before they get out of hand. Even friendly dogs can pose a danger so they are trained to put their batons between themselves and the dog and back up unless they’re cornered. No cornering here. This idiot had a dog with him as they approached him and I’m certain they recognized that the dog was barking from the car before the dog even jumped out so they had ample opportunity to prevent this. The guy who shot the dog never took his baton out. At that moment, the dogs fate was decided. You can blame the detainee all you want but he wasn’t doing anything illegal anyway, but that’s another story.

    Nothing is wrong with asking and I do think we can always give opinions if you can provide context to try to have a better outcome the next time this sort of confrontation happens. And it will!!

    Smart people learn from their own mistakes. Wise people learn from other people’s mistakes.

  6. Avatar Of Ian



    Another incident of bad police training, the dog was well behaved ,went into the car and was,nt aggressive in anyway.Clearly the police were not interested in making sure the the dog was secured in the car ,the window was open probably for fresh air etc “otherwise they might have charged him forthat,In the uk we have dog handlers to take the danger out of the situation by removing the dog to save blowing his brains out .Much simpler and logical ,especially for so ive heard such a minor offence .Well i think its going to open a can of worms and if that was my dog ? I could not say what i would do .Train your police LA its not that hard.Dog Handler and trainer.Listen up.

  7. Avatar Of Rubyb



    The Hawthorne Police lied about what happened until multiple videos and public reactions forced them to be more truthful:

    The cop who shot the dog has a history of shooting and killing a Downs syndrome man:

    Hawthorne Police Department Pays $1,000,000 To Settle Police Brutality & Corruption Lawsuit >

  8. Avatar Of Jennifer



    The cops were deffently(sp) in the wrong on this. They didn’t take offense at the guy taping the situation because number one there were two other people taping the situation that the cops ignored and number two the cops did not approach the dog’s owner until he said they were violating someone’s rights. I think they were violating someone’s rights and didn’t want this guy to be able to prove it and get them into trouble. I think that is the real reason they took offense at him and arrested him.

    As for the dog, the dog did lunge at the officer twice, but that was because the officer was trying to grab his leash or touch him or something. I wasn’t quite sure what he was trying to do. I only saw the officer’s hand reach out to the dog twice and each time the dog jumped up and snapped at the officer. However, the officer was completely in the wrong for shooting this dog as the dog only lunged when the officer tried to put a hand on him and was clearly not a danger to either the officer or the public. There was deffently(sp) nonlethal ways to have handled that situation. I hope both officers are punished for wrongful arrest of this man and I hope the officer that shot the dog is fired and is never allowed to be a police officer again along with being charged with animal cruelty and is not allowed to own any animals himself.

  9. Avatar Of Ivan Meers

    ivan meers


    what is steve cox’s e-mail address.

  10. Avatar Of Anon



    After I saw this I ran and hugged my dog. They need to make a law were you can not use a lethal weapon on an animal or unarmed person. The police have a lot of access to training and new weapons, so why not train for situations like this. That cop is a faggot coward and should be suspended from his position as an officer and sued.

  11. Avatar Of Charles Bukowski

    Charles Bukowski


    Cops that don’t want to be recorded are dirty cops. These cops are scumballs and racists. These aholes get off on power tripping, are typically wife beaters and alcoholics. Good cops are a very small minority, most are corrupted on the job and treat everyone as if they are criminals. I’m glad I live in a small town where the cops are family and friends and know they will be held accountable for their
    actions. Big city cops are the dregs of society, anxious to flaunt their power by abuse if need be.

  12. Avatar Of Donna Poole Donna Poole says:

    I am totally devastated. Shooting the dog was uncalled for. All the cops had to do was ask the man, black or white, to leave the scene. They didn’t have to shoot the dog. There were five cops there and they couldn’t handle ONE dog??? WTF?
    Did they not even notice the other people taking the video of the man taking the video?

  13. Avatar Of Donna Cox

    Donna Cox


    What did the COPS have to hide ? The man wasn’t doing anything wrong just taking pictures with his phone as the other man was .he was not hindering them from doing their job at all ,those 2 cops were just standing there.They could have just told the man to leave instead of putting handcuffs on him . That third cop was trigger happy and dangerous ,he shot that poor dog several times . Those are the kind of cops that DO NOT need to be a cop they do more harm than good .next will probably be a kid he kills.That cop went after that dog ,maybe you need to watch that video again Lisa R.

  14. Avatar Of Steve Malmrose

    steve malmrose


    sue them he the officer lunged at him

  15. Avatar Of Lisa R Lisa R says:

    Although it is sad the the dog died, the police were protecting themselves! All you people saying that the cops were wrong to shoot, are flat out wrong! What were they supposed to do, wait until they got attacked? The dog DID lunge toward the cops. Yes, he was just protecting his owner, but the cops were just protecting themselves!

  16. Avatar Of Cindy Bender

    cindy bender


    They must know it was wrong to not let the video be shown cause they also know everyone would see them for the nasty cops they are. hope they all go to hell. so easy to shot a dog and sit on your ass and do nothing to child rapper, and all the people that need shot. big man shoot a dog.. prick

  17. Avatar Of Anna Byars

    Anna Byars


    This was horrible. If those officers would have just stopped and calmed down, the dog would not have gotten aggressive. You can see the dog run out barking, then he stopped and was sniffing the ground. When a dog is in full on attack, he doesn’t stop to sniff the ground. The officer that approached him did something and that is why the dog snapped at him, then ran back. There was absolutely no reason to shoot that animal. They could have let the owner get the dog under control, then finish talking to him. I don’t see that Rosby should have been handcuffed and pushed around just for video taping them. Looks like this city needs to do some major house-cleaning and retraining of their officers.

  18. Avatar Of Mjloucks



    I think that they should fire the cop. the dog was doing what a dog should do. he thought his own was in trouble and he was going to help. no reason to shot the dog they could have stop the dog. cop think they are right all the time and they are not.

  19. Avatar Of Linda




  20. Avatar Of Reney



    that was so wrong in the officer doing that. If they would of just given the owner a chance to clam the dog down they should of done so. I did not see nothing wrong in what the own was doing to begin with, he was just walking. That brought so many tears to my eyes, to even let the dog suffer like that, i hope that officer get what is coming to him.

  21. Avatar Of Susan susan says:

    I hate what the police did shooting the dog but I am aware of what the officers will do so in that situation I would have kept my mouth shut about what was going down just like if I had a little kid with me because dogs and little kids are defenseless put them first. horrible to lose your dog that way.

  22. Avatar Of Cody



    That dog did nothing? if you watch it run up and then stud near its owner wondering what was going on, It did not look aggressive At ALL! Then they shot the poor thing.. Gross human been’s right there

  23. Avatar Of Timhedrick timhedrick says:

    cops are dirty and i sue the cop and the deptartment only thing the man did wrong was didnt row windows up enough if they would have backed off and restrain him better this didnt have too be cops think cause they wear a badge there above the law u dont wear that badge 24/7 and funny 4 or more cops for one guy real big men cowards i fight 4 or more myself in fights growin up butt iam a MAN NOT A COP WHO HAS A GUN AND TASZER BUTT STILL HALF THE FORCE FOR ONE MAN HUMMMMMMMM

  24. Avatar Of Michael Michael says:

    It’s ok.. Everything has been sorted out. The cops have all been found with a table leg broken off inside their ass, a bullet behind their ear & their parents were found baked at a low temperature for having them. Justice has been served. 🙂

  25. Avatar Of Mary



    this made me sick, the dog did not attack, they could have stopped being bullies with a man that was being peaceful, and should have asked him to call someone to come get the dog, but to let the dog die in pain and horror in front of the owner and everyone around there was just sickening, really shook me up. hate it for the poor dog, and the owner. shame shame shame.

  26. Avatar Of Ladyash



    I saw this earlier today. There are a few things I don’t understand. 1- The owner was detained, but not aggressive in any way. Why didn’t the cops just let him restrain the dog? And 2- why did the cop reach for the dog? The dog was obviously showing “protectiveness” of it’s owner. Don’t put you damned hand in it’s face. The officer was at fault there for antagonizing the animal.

    I would like to point out, that the owner had no right antagonizing the police officers. This whole fiasco wouldn’t have happened if the dog owner had just minded his own business, however; that doesn’t excuse the actions of the police officer. How are you going to shot a dog 4 times? I think once is enough (it shouldn’t have happened to begin with, but still). The dog may have even lived if it wasn’t for the additional 3 shots, AND the 3 other shots took place after the dog was trying to back away. This is just crazy.

  27. Avatar Of Shanequa



    Are u all so fucking stupid? They maced the dog more than once! The dog was a good loyal dog and max did keep coming! The only one at fault is the idiot antagonizing the cops. That big bad thug should be beat with a cane for getting his dog killed. Quit playing the race card that’s just weak.

    • Avatar Of Ladyash



      They never pepper sprayed the dog. The sounds you’re hearing is someone in the audience trying to call out to the animal.

    • Avatar Of Donna



      Thank You ! The guy is the one that got his dog killed. If people listened to all that’s said they realize. I don’t buy the race card either if anything the guy started out saying “how come I don’t see no black cops. I do not see a black man ,I see a stupid man who thought he was a tough a**. I feel for poor Max not him. The cops reaction to Max was just disgusting. Rules of life although it is unfair: Do not say anything to a cop other than yes sir and no sir. They will take you down no matter how wrong it is . In this case the man got taken down and his dog is dead!

      • Avatar Of Patrick Wells

        Patrick Wells


        “Rules of life although it is unfair: Do not say anything to a cop other than yes sir and no sir. They will take you down no matter how wrong it is”

        How about NO! Stand up for yourself and for others unless you want to live in a police state in the future, and stop making excuses for the status quo!

        If you want change, you can’t say “well, that’s just the way it is.” If the “way it is” is wrong, then SPEAK UP! And if everyone speaks up together, “the way it is” won’t be that way much longer.

  28. Avatar Of Cynthia Harrison

    Cynthia Harrison


    I just watched the video and these officers had no right shoting the dog. they need to be severely punished just as someone would be punished to the full extent of the law for killing a police dog. The cops are no different than everyday people except they wear a badge, laws should be no different for them. They get away with enough because they hide behind a badge.

  29. Avatar Of Angi



    I just finished the video and wish I had never watched it. The dog only snapped when they reached for him but the worst of it was when the dog fluttered around NOT DEAD and they did NOTHING, and the owner’s excruciating cries. omg you bastards!

  30. Avatar Of Angi



    I’m a bit confused, why were they arresting that guy for video taping everything but not the guy behind him video tapping everything ??

  31. Avatar Of Kim



    there was no reason for that dog to be shot. He did not lunge as they said…….. sickening…. made me sick. The cops who shoot dogs for no reason other then to shoot their guns should be fire thrown in jail and have to seek counseling. what harm did he do to anyone of u assholes????
    sick bastards…..

  32. Avatar Of Linda



    this is disgraceful many of the desperate hireies coming into lawinforcement are thugs trigger happy morons who will drum up lies to justify their acts of vengence i would sue the heck on of these responsible they are a disgrace to the name of law officers

  33. Avatar Of Monica



    Taking photos does not constitute a law enforcement officer to shoot your dog. The cops that accosted this citizen and killed his companion animal need to be ARRESTED and TRIED, not reprimanded. AND SEND THE COPS BACK TO LE 101 – THEY SEEM TO HAVE FORGOTTEN WHO THEY WORK FOR.

    • Avatar Of Dawn



      I have to agree with you Monica. The man was not doing anything illegal, he was not resisting the uncalled for arrest and the dog was obviously upset!
      The officers could have let the man secure his dog before they handcuffed him!! He was not being unruly and the dog was protecting his human, and would have already bitten one of them by then if that was it’s intention!!!!! That officer needs to surrender his badge and be prosecuted
      for the animals death!!!

  34. It was NOT necessary to shot that dog! They over reacted 🙁 The owner should have downed the dog. I am appalled at what I just watched. The dog was the only innocent one in the video.

  35. Avatar Of Adrian Lee Powell

    Adrian Lee Powell


    the officers show signs of unreasonable force and prejudice towards the black male

  36. Avatar Of Adrian Lee Powell

    Adrian Lee Powell


    he antagonized the dog right before he shot him if you watch he sticks his hand out as done in a police dog training exercise. i hope he wins the law suit

  37. Avatar Of Rebecca



    These cops salaries are paid by our tax dollars to serve and protect. Who is going to protect us from them? They made absolutly zero attempt to do anything to try to protect that dogs life, instead they intensified the situation by continuing to restrain it’s owner for doing something that was legal to do in the first place. And what about the person who videoed this action of the cop shooting the dog? Why wasn’t he arrested too? This was beyond senseless, just like the cop who killed the dog…senseless! This cop was plain trigger happy and I wouldn’t want to be in a situation where he would help to serve and protect me, I could be shot dead if I looked at him the wrong way!!!

  38. Avatar Of Danel



    I will start this by admitting I did not even attempt to watch the video. I think it is a police officer’s right to defend themselves, but there have been too many stories lately where it seems cops are shooting innocent dogs for simply being “on the scene”. Just because a dog is big doesn’t mean it is hostile- everybody can tell the difference b/t a dog coming up to you and a dog coming over clearly aggressive. I think he should definitely be relieved of his job.

  39. Avatar Of Tracy



    that officer should have 40 rounds pumped into him…piece of shit human

    • Avatar Of Bella



      Too bad his owner didnt care for him enough to keep him out of harms way…..obviously there was enough trouble going on with the amount of cop cars in the area…….he should of protected his dog and never brought him into the area..people like that shouldnt be allowed to own dogs…instead he had to be so “bad” he got his own dog killed……i dont blame the police one bit… sure they feared for their life with that huge dog…..poor dog

  40. Avatar Of Dora Ponce

    Dora Ponce


    Leave comment on their statuses.

  41. Avatar Of Susie



    This is one of the more horiffic killing of an unprovoked animal I have ever seen. But I am happy to know this got on the internet!!!! Seeing that poor dog dying was painful it made me sick to my stomache. The bastard cop should be arrested. Isn’t it a felony to kill a dog!!!!!!

  42. Avatar Of Susie



    This is one of the more horiffic killing of an unprovoke animal I have ever seen. But I am happy to know this got on the internet!!!! Seeing that poor dog dying in the most painful was made me sick to my stomache. The bastard cop should be arrested. Isn’t it a felony to kill a dog!!!!!!

  43. Avatar Of Lynn



    I have seldom seen such a horrible video. The dog was obviously shot because the police are poorly trained. The owner could easily have been allowed to place his dog back in the car and call a family member or friend to come and get the car. At 110 degrees the dog could not be in the car as it is. Disgraceful police action. Someone has to be held accountable.

  44. Avatar Of Lorraine



    the police man should serve time for crulty to animals

  45. Avatar Of Donna



    I am more than sickened by this video .I don’t think the guy was innocent here. I feel he was a big part in this horrible horrible outcome. He could have done the video in his car but he made sure the cops were aware (like challenging them). If you challenge a cop you won’t like the outcome.He was aware of his dogs loyalty to him. Did he think his dog would just sit there in the car when all the cops came? What did he think was going to happen? A large group of cops , when challenged or, in their eyes, be treated with disrespect will not walk away. They will not give someone a slap on the wrist and say “now go home”. They will take you in.Poor Max is the victim here . May he rest in peace. He clearly met a painful agonizing death. He should not have been shot

    • Avatar Of Donna



      I want to add that I don’t condone what the cops did at all. The officer involved should be fired and charged with murdering an innocent dog. He should go to jail. They are trained, shoot first ask questions later.

      • Avatar Of Harlen Hayes

        Harlen Hayes


        very well said Donna. On one part of the video you can here the person filming say, “Did he just say whay arent there any black cops here” (or something to that effect). If he in fact did say that to them , then he was basically distracting the officers pulling there attention away from what was going on causing an obstruction in their work/investigation. So I could see why he was arrested and possibly charged with Obstruction. Onto the poor animal that was shot and killed. It sickens me to see that happen, but the owner is mostly at fault here like you pointed out for antagonizing the officers. Im not saying what the officer did was right by far means, but there could have been some lesser evasive actions taken such as mace, pepper spray or even tasing before shooting and killing this animal..

        • Avatar Of Warren Gunther

          Warren Gunther


          Do not blame the dog owner for what the police did. The owner did not break any laws. The police did break the law by using too much force.

          This is more than poor police training. This is a failure of the police to be humane.

    • Avatar Of Anon



      its more illegal to conceal that you are recording police then to record in open

    • Avatar Of Adrian Lee Powell

      Adrian Lee Powell


      If he was challenging the officers I do not think he would of put his dog in his car, and I certainly feel that he would not have obeyed their commands when right before he was cuffed.

      Demonstration of Rights should not be considered a “challenge of authority”.

      Taking a video of a Police barricade that is in the middle of the suburbs should not be considered a “challenge of authority”

      Honestly speaking here “If he was a white man there would of been no trouble, the officers might of simply asked him to leave the area. Since he was black I believe they were aggressive and irritated for him hanging around the scene and taking a video. Just as little brother irritates big brother just by hanging around.”

      chal·lenge (chlnj)
      a. A call to engage in a contest, fight, or competition: a challenge to a duel.
      b. An act or statement of defiance; a call to confrontation: a challenge to the government’s authority.
      2. A demand for explanation or justification; a calling into question: a challenge to a theory.
      3. A sentry’s call to an unknown party for proper identification.
      4. A test of one’s abilities or resources in a demanding but stimulating undertaking: a career that offers a challenge.
      5. A claim that a vote is invalid or that a voter is unqualified.
      6. Law A formal objection to the inclusion of a prospective juror in a jury.
      7. Immunology The induction or evaluation of an immune response in an organism by administration of a specific antigen to which it has been sensitized.

      • Avatar Of Donna



        You have your opinion and I have mine.

        • Avatar Of Brandy From Va

          Brandy from Va


          hmmm… so in your opinion, the police had the right to arrest this man due to videotaping them outside of his vehicle? The cops had a right to feel that this man was ‘challenging’ them by letting them know he was recording them? Are you serious? You are either a cop or a racist my friend!

          Well, let’s see… with my past experience with the work of the ‘fine’ people that serve/protect my community (AKA: law enforcement officers), they are LESS likely to abuse their power over citizens when they know they are being recorded. The man put his dog in the car, he did not know that he was going to get out when these ‘officers’ used unneeded force with his owner. The dog was protecting him and that was it!

          Sure, the dog came over to the general area of where his ‘dad’ was to make sure he was safe. I did NOT see where this dog attempted to ‘attack’ anyone… he was sniffing the freakin’ ground! This was unprovoked and this officer should be punished for animal cruelty.

          As for the comment on his skin color… STOP playing the race card! African Americans are NOT the only race that face this type of crap! If this exact scenario happened where I live, it would not matter what color your skin was. I don’t care what color this man was, this a**hole had NO right to kill this animal. I understand that the African American people feel discriminated against based on their race (I am white, and most people would refer to me as a ‘redneck’), but you must understand that racism is prevalent in all races. In my community there is police brutality from white officers inflicted on white and black people on a daily basis.

          There is no justice for the average American, we have few rights anymore… and day by day they are slowly dwindling away… wake up America!!!!

  46. Avatar Of Vivian Gonzalez

    Vivian Gonzalez


    Supend this Asshole!!! Obviously he can’t handle stressful situations appropriately. This is very disturbing to an dog lover like myself. Sue this bastard!! Grrrr!!!

  47. Avatar Of Mary



    There is NO excuse for the police officers reaction and should be charged, with no and or buts, they were in no danger,and should be punished as a show that this kind of action will not be put up with. They should have knopwn that any dog will protect it’s master

  48. Avatar Of Wendy D

    Wendy D


    This is beyond repugnant and it is amazing that someone captured this on video.
    The dog was not lunging. It simply wanted it’s owner. These officer that shot the dog should be thrown off the force. There was no need to arrest the owner in the first place.

  49. Avatar Of Vivian Gonzalez

    Vivian Gonzalez


    Why did the police had to shoot this dog? The dog in no moment try to hurt this cop. They need to suspense him, obviously he can’t handle stressful situations appropriate. What a shame am a dog lover and this video really made me upset. All I can say Karma is not a nice friend. Disappointed!

  50. Avatar Of Rhonda



    This is disgraceful! Especially since it is not against the law to record police activity. This poor dog was murdered in cold blood by an A** with a God complex.

    • Avatar Of Magda Wheeler

      Magda Wheeler


      With so many police killing, murdering, innocent dogs around the country the past year I am just about to the point that I have absolutely NO sympathy for any of these police who are being randomly shot and killed by criminals. You reap what you sow. The police are out of control. They are no longer our protectors. The are fast becoming our enemy. My dog’s life as more value to me than most of these rotten dog murdering police.

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