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Man Whose Rottweiler Was Shot By Hawthorne Police Sues City, Officers

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(courtesy Gabriel Martinez/YouTube)

(courtesy Gabriel Martinez/YouTube)

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A man whose rottweiler was fatally shot by police on a video viewed nearly three million times online has filed a lawsuit against the city of Hawthorne.

Leon Rosby filed the lawsuit Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, also naming Hawthorne police officers Christopher Hoffman, Michael Matson and Jeffrey Salmon as defendants. The lawsuit alleges violation of civil rights, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Rosby is asking for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

The dog was killed by police at about 5:45 p.m. on June 30, 2013, at 137th Street and Jefferson Avenue, where officers were on the scene of a barricade situation.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Rottweiler Shot By Hawthorne Police Caught On Video

Police say Rosby pulled up to the scene and began taking pictures, interfering with the barricade situation, so officers decided to arrest him.

The 2-year-old rottweiler, Max, was in the backseat of Rosby’s car when the animal jumped out of an open window and began lunging at officers, police said.

Hoffman shot Max several times, according to the lawsuit. The video showed the dog dying on the street as shocked onlookers wailed and screamed in the background.

“Officer Hoffman’s conduct was directed at Mr. Rosby and was intended to humiliate and harm him and to cause psychological trauma to Mr. Rosby by forcing him to watch the brutal and inhumane execution of his beloved dog,” the lawsuit alleges.

The video of the incident by a bystander “was downloaded millions of times and became the source of national and global attention and utter embarrassment for the Hawthorne Police Department,” according to the lawsuit.

In retaliation for the video, Hawthorne police “fabricated police reports that claimed Mr. Rosby was the aggressor during the arrest,” the lawsuit alleges. “The police reports also claimed that Mr. Rosby threatened and intimidated other witnesses from releasing other videos of the incident.”

Rosby was targeted for harassment by Hawthorne police after he filed a complaint against the department in July 2011 alleging “corrupt practices,” according to the lawsuit.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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