A video making the rounds this evening allegedly depicts California man Leon Rosby being arrested yesterday before police shot his dog to death as he and other civilians looked on in horror. According to Rosby's attorney, Michael Gulden, Rosby was simply videotaping a police action in his Hawthorne neighborhood when cops approached him to arrest him for "obstructing an investigation," a charge Gulden calls "ridiculous." "[H]e was driving by and noticed the police activity and stopped to watch," Gulden told me in an email, "as is common when this type of activity is going on in any neighborhood."
The Daily Breeze reports that the music playing in Rosby's car may have been what initially motivated police, who were on an armed robbery call, to confront him:
As some, including resident Gabriel Martinez, aimed their cellphones at the scene to record it, Rosby drove up in his rented black Mazda. [Police spokesperson Scott] Swain said Rosby stopped in the intersection with music blaring from his windows. Officers told him to turn down the music because they were trying to hear what was happening down the street. Rosby pulled forward, parked and got out with his dog, but left the music still playing loudly.
"It's distracting the officers," Swain said. "It's interfering with what they are able to hear. It's not just a party call. It's an armed robbery call. The officers need to hear what's going on with the people being called out of the residence. That music in his car is bleeding over and it's distracting them." Rosby admits that he didn't turn down his music at the officers' requests, telling the Daily Breeze, "I do apologize if I didn't immediately comply. The music may have been a little loud but I was complying. I said, 'Sir, I want to make sure nobody's civil rights were being violated.'"
After recording with his smartphone for a couple minutes, Rosby is seen in eyewitness video putting his dog, Max, into his car as two officers approach him. Rosby in turn approaches the officers and looks to submit willingly to an arrest. As officers cuff Rosby, however, Max leaps from the car's rear window and lunges toward them, at which point the police shoot the animal multiple times, killing it.
Gulden says Rosby, who has previously made a formal complaint about the Hawthorne Police Department using racial profiling, spent the night in jail and had his phone confiscated. Gulden adds that Rosby and his family are “very, very upset" about Max's death.
An interesting wrinkle to this story is that Rosby is already a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed in March that accuses the Hawthorne Police Department of excessive force. That suit, which is published below, stems from an incident in July of last year in which police responded to a domestic dispute at Rosby’s home and, according to Gulden, attacked him without reason. Gulden says all the charges against Rosby in that case have since been dropped. He now plans to amend Rosby's first suit to include yesterday’s incident.
Multiple requests to the Hawthorne Police Department for comment went unreturned.