Police Kill Dog: Owner Claims Shooting Was Retribution For Lawsuit He Filed Against Department

VIdeo shows police officers kill a dog as it lunges toward them, but the dog’s owner claims the story goes much deeper than what is seen on the four-minute viral video.

A video uploaded to YouTube on Sunday appears to show police kill the dog after it lunged toward them. The dog’s owner was videotaping officers during a tense standoff with armed robbery suspects in Hawthorne, California. After pulling up with loud music and shouting at the officers, 52-year-old Leon Rosby was approached by several officers.

Sensing the situation was turning tense, Rosby walked his dog to his car and shut it in the door as he talked to officers. But when the police handcuffed Rosby and began to drag him toward the street, the dog wiggled free from an open window and approached officers.

The 2-year-old Rottweiler, named Max, appeared to bark at officers but then back away when one of the officers yelled. But another officer approached and tried to grab the animal’s long leash, causing the dog to lunge at him. The officer then fired four shots at the dog, killing it.

The officer was justified in firing, the Hawthorne Police Department said. The department claims the 80-pound Rottweiler created an “increasingly dangerous situation,” and that the officer had to kill the dog because he feared  “the attacking Rottweiler would imminently bite the officer(s).”

Rosby said what really caused the police officer to kill the dog was a lawsuit he had brought against the department. In March he filed charges against the Hawthorne Police Department, claiming excessive use of force and false imprisonment for a July 2012 incident.

A lawsuit claims that officers beat Rosby in his home and jail after his wife called to report a domestic incident. All charges against Rosby were eventually dropped.

Warning: Video contains graphic images.

“There were many people doing the same thing,” said Michael Gulden, an attorney for Leon Rosby.

Rosby claims police recognized him as a “:troublemaker” and decided to target him.

The video showing the police officer kill the dog has generated a strong backlash against the Hawthorne Police Department, with the department’s Facebook page inundated with allegations of brutality and excessive force.