HAWTHORNE (CBSLA.com) — Public outrage over a police shooting and the killing of a man’s Rottweiler has not waned as community activists Saturday protested outside the Hawthorne Police Department.
The demonstration along Hawthorne Boulevard follows the June 30, shooting of a Rottweiler.
The dog was fatally shot, while its owner, Leon Rosby, was detained by officers as police removed an armed robbery suspect from a house. While Rosby was handcuffed, the dog lunged at officers who then opened fire.
Rosby met with protesters and he thanked them for their concern. He told CBS2’s Joy Benedict that he was touched the group was offering their support for Max. “Just seeing this [crowd] is a blessing, it’s truly a blessing,” he said, “to know that people are sympathizing with what happened with him.”
Home video of the shooting has gone viral with more than 4 million on hits on YouTube. Three detectives involved in the shooting have been reassigned for their protection.
“Like I’ve said before, the video is tragic. It’s horrific. It’s hard to watch. Our employees have been affected by it, just like everyone in the public has,” said Hawthorne police Lt. Scott Swain. “We’re surprised by some of the things that have resulted afterwards. The threats. The emails. The phone calls and things like that.”
The department was also bracing for possible cyberattacks by the group called “Anonymous,” comprised of self-described “hack-tivists.”
“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.
The move comes after a threat was posted online Wednesday.
The threat begins, “Hello fellow citizens of Earth. We are ‘Anonymous.’ Police of Hawthorne, you should know you are our primary target. This matter will not remain unresolved. We are ‘Anonymous.’ We are legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.”
The Saturday protest was organized via social media and the group did not have a permit. The Hawthorne Police decided to foot the bill any way. “Maybe this [protest] is part of the healing process and moving forward,” said Lt. Scott Swain with the Hawthorne Police.
The department has launched multiple investigations into the last Sunday’s incident, including one that will deal with Rosby for allegedly interfering with a police investigation. The other will be an internal affairs investigation into the officers’ actions.