(Photo: YouTube Screen Capture)
Police have shot and killed a dog in Southern California, sparking a huge wave of criticism from animal lovers on the Internet after various videos of the incident were posted online, resulting in outrage from viewers.
The shooting was captured on a least two cell phone video cameras on Sunday and posted online, showing an officer letting off four gunshots at the Rottweiler.
The incident took place after officers from the Hawthorne Police Department responded to reports of a robbery at a residence in the area of 137th Street & Jefferson Avenue in the City of Hawthorne.
A stand-off took place between officers and the suspects, and as things developed a crowd of people gathered in the streets to watch.
Most people were standing across the street at a junction watching on, but one man can be seen standing closer on the other side of the street with his Rottweiler on a leash, video taping the scene on his cell phone.
After a short while two police officers can be seen walking towards the man with the dog. He quickly puts his Rottweiler in his vehicle, parked at the junction, and stands with his hands behind his back waiting to be taken into custody by police.
Most onlookers at this point are bemused at why he was being arrested. It later was claimed by police that he was standing too close to the scene and that he had turned his car music up too loud, which had caused an annoyance to the officers working at the scene.
However, as police arrest the man the Rottweiler can be seen barking anxiously in the car at the officers arresting the owner, and after a few seconds the dog jumps out the car window and approaches the officer.
At this point a third officer draws his firearm and steps forward to assist his two colleagues, and he can be seen trying to grab the dog's leash, to which the dog jumps forward a little. The officer then lets out four gunshots at the dog in quick succession, and the Rottweiler can be seen rolling around in pain, kicking its feet in the air for a few seconds as it dies.
Here is a video of the shooting [WARNING: Graphic content - Please do not watch if likely to be offended]:
Here is a video of the shooting from a second angle [WARNING: Graphic content - Please do not watch if likely to be offended]:
The dog's owner who was being arrested has been identified as Leon Rosby, and he was taken to spend the night in jail on suspicion of obstructing officers.
It later emerged that Rosby has a criminal history, and was already pursuing a lawsuit against police. Some online commenters have suggested the officers knew Rosby and reacted so strongly because they wanted some kind of payback.
Mike Turcotte posted on Facebook: "For those wondering? This wasn't just racial profiling. The arrested man, walking his two year old baby pup, has AN OPEN SUIT AGAINST HAWTHORNE FOR ATTACKING HIM AND BREAKING HIS RIB. They saw him on scene and wanted payback. This was an intentional attack to make him pay for suing them. YOU MAD YET? If you aren't, you aren't paying attention."
Hundreds of other commenters have slammed the police officers for overreacting, calling the killing of the dog "horrific" and "shameful."
In response to the high profile shooting, Hawthorne Police have released the following statement explaining the actions and response of the officers: