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"In the wake of a shocking video that showed Hawthorne police officers fatally shooting a dog, the department has released a second video that it says exonerates the officers.
After the original cell phone video of the incident was posted to YouTube a week ago, the Southern
California police department was bombarded with angry calls and emails, including death threats that prompted the department to take the three officers involved off street duty.But the video below, taken on a cell phone by a second witness at the scene, shows more of the interactions the dog owner, Leon Rosby, had with police before the shooting. It also more clearly shows the officers' actions before shooting the dog, a large Rottweiler. In the video, the shooting officer reaches his hand
toward the dog and hesitates before shooting it four times.
"This video will help us tremendously regarding [Rosby's] actions prior to his arrest," said public information officer Lt. Scott Swain, who sent the video to The Huffington Post. "You can see the officer gives out his hand to let the dog sniff it and tries to grab the leash."Many people have asked why the officer needed to shoot four times, accusing him of being "trigger-happy." However, Swain said that's the department's policy."We're not trained to shoot one shot or to shoot in the leg.
You're always trained to shoot multiple shots," Swain said. "Firing a gun is a last resort. We're trained to eliminate the threat, and that's ajudgment call on the officers."
However, Robert Helfend, a defense attorney in LA, questioned the officers' actions."Once the officers made the decision to detain Mr. Rosby, they seemed to haveno plan in place regarding the handling of his dog. It would seem, in hindsight, that the officers could have simply let Mr. Rosby go
temporarily, to contain his animal," Helfend told HuffPost. "They then could have permitted Mr. Rosby to phone someone to pick up the dog. The so-called crime that Mr. Rosby supposedly committed was not life-threatening nor was he a danger to the community."According to a police statement, Rosby was arrested for "interference with officers" because his "loud, distracting music (from the individual's vehicle), and his intentional walking within close proximity to armed Officers,
while holding an 80-pound Rottweiler on a long leash-line ... created an increasingly dangerous situation and demanded officers' focus away fromthe matter at hand." (Click here for the department's full account of what happened.Some have questioned whether Rosby's arrest was lawful, saying he was exercising his right to free speech and to film police.
Cameron Fredman, an attorney in LA who has worked on police shooting cases, said that the arrest could be lawful."There's been some reporting that the dog owner had been instructed to turn the music down because it was interfering with a police investigation and that he refused to comply," Fredman told HuffPost. "To the extent this is true, the police were likely justified in making an arrest."In addition to thousands of angry emails and phone calls since the first video of the incident was posted, the Hawthorne police department was threatened by the online "hacktivist" group Anonymous in a video posted to YouTube on July 3."Policeof Hawthorne, you must know that you are our primary target. This matter will not remain unresolved," a masked man in the animated video
says. "We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us."
Swarmed by visitors from around the world, the department's web site crashed and will remain down "until things calm down," Swain told HuffPost on Monday."
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