HAWTHORNE, Calif., July 2 (UPI) -- A man says Hawthorne, Calif., police needlessly killed his Rottweiler when it lunged at them while they arrested him as he shot video outside a crime scene.
Leon Rosby had perturbed police officers investigating a robbery Sunday evening by blaring music from his car sound system while shooting video. Rosby put the 130-pound dog in his car prior to being handcuffed but it jumped out a window, barked and lunged at the officers. One officer fired several shots, hitting the dog.
"There was no way Max should have died like that," Rosby told the Torrance Daily Breeze. "Max was only protecting his master. He was trying to stop them from beating on me."
But police said the officers had no choice.
"It looks like the officer tried to reach down and grab the leash, and then the dog lunges in the direction of him and the other officers there," Hawthorne police Lt. Scott Swain said. "And I know it's the dog's master, and more than likely not going to attack him, [but] we've got a guy handcuffed that's kind of defenseless. We have a duty to defend him, too."
Swain defending the officers' decision to arrest Rosby, as well, because his loud music was distracting investigators.
"It's interfering with what they are able to hear. It's not just a party call. It's an armed robbery call," Swain said. "The officers need to hear what's going on with the people being called out of the residence. That music in his car is bleeding over and it's distracting them."
Rosby, 52, acknowledged he didn't immediately turn down the music.
"I do apologize if I didn't immediately comply. The music may have been a little loud but I was complying," Rosby said. "I said, 'Sir, I want to make sure nobody's civil rights were being violated.'"
Rosby, who was jailed overnight, said Monday he believed police retaliated against him because of his previous with officers. Court records show he has convictions for resisting, battery and driving under the influence. Rosby, who is black, said he has filed a half-dozen complaints against the Hawthorne police, alleging mistreatment and racial profiling. He also sued the city and two police officers in March, contending officers broke one of his ribs while responding to a domestic violence disturbance at his house, located near where his dog was shot.