Three police officers in Hawthorne, California, have been removed from their patrol this week after a video captured them arresting a man who was recording them, then shooting the man’s dog. A spokesperson for the police department says the decision is for the officers’ safety.
Earlier this week, video of the arrest of Leon Rosby and the death of Max the Rotweiler went viral, leading to apparent death threats against the officers involved. Police shot the dog a total of four times after it lunged at them while they were handcuffing Rosby. The police department claims that the killing was justified, but Rosby has filed a complaint alleging it was not.
Watch it. WARNING — GRAPHIC:
Police say they arrested Rosby for blasting music and interfering with a police investigation. Rosby says he was recording the scene “to make sure nobody’s civil rights were being violated.” While it is illegal to record someone without their consent in the state of California, the state does have an “expectation of privacy” provision in its law that, as Gizmodo reports, “courts have ruled does not apply to on-duty police.” It is not clear whether Rosby’s actions would be considered illegal under this law, but it seems likely he was within his legal rights to record the officers.
A Change.org petition calling for the arrest and prosecution of the police officers has garnered over 86,000 signatures.
A spokesperson for the department said that the threats against the officers amount to, “We are going to kill you and your family because of this incident.” The center that receives any call into the Hawthorne Police Department reports a jump up from 10 to 75 calls an hour.
Video evidence has become a boon in identifying incidents of police brutality. Earlier this week, police in New Jersey were put under investigation after a video captured them kicking and dragging around a handcuffed men. In another recent case also involving a dog, police were caught on tap choking a black teenager who they said was giving them a “dehumanizing” stare while carrying a newborn puppy down the street.