HAWTHORNE (CBSLA.com) — The Hawthorne Police Department reassigned three officers involved with the killing of a Rottweiler during an arrest over the weekend due to death threats.
Police Chief Robert Fager said he’s worried about the men’s safety after a YouTube video went viral that showed an officer killing an 80-pound Rottweiler.
“These aren’t just threats of wishing ill will. These are absolutely threats to their life,” he said.
Leon Rosby, the owner of the dog, is suing the police department in another case, but pointed out that he doesn’t want to see retaliation against police.
“Those officers, we need to make sure that we’re not going to resort to violence like they did. Do not threaten them. Do not do that,” he said.
On Sunday, police were at the scene of a barricade situation at 137th Street and Jefferson when Rosby began to record the arrest of two suspects involved in an armed robbery.
Police asked him to step away and turn down the music in his car.
Officers eventually approached Rosby and asked him to put his dog, 2-year-old Max, inside his vehicle.
While Rosby was being handcuffed, however, Max jumped out of the passenger window.
The canine lunged at officers. One officer shot the dog four times, killing it.
Law enforcement consultant and retired LAPD Lt. Sergio Robleto has seen raw video of the shooting and said Max charged at one officer not once, but twice.
“The officer then reacted. With no choice other than to put the dog down,” he said.
Robleto said the shooting could’ve been avoided had the officers ignored Rosby when he inserted himself into a robbery investigation.