This video set the Internet ablaze last night, in a way few police brutality surveillance videos have. These things happen when a dog is shot and killed in broad daylight.
But we should back up. The horrifying clip, which you might want to avoid if you're a dog lover, focuses on a Hawthorne, California man named Leon Rosby, who is seen recording a police raid with his cell phone camera. As others in the neighborhood stand around and watch, Rosby is approached by two police officers, who cuff and arrest him—according to Rosby's attorney, Michael Gulden—for "obstructing an investigation." Rosby's Rottweiler, Max, then leaps out of Rosby's back window and approaches the trio. You see Rosby yell at the dog, who barks at the two cops, then the dog runs over to protect its owner. A cop shoots Max multiple times. As someone who's always loved Rottweilers, it really fucking wrecked me to watch it all go down last night.
One thing you're struck by when watching the video is that Rosby is willingly cuffed by the police, and Max seems more curious than aggressive. Until the shots are fired, this isn't your typical antagonistic police video.
The cops claim Rosby was arrested for playing his music too loudly and "distracting the officers," and because he had refused an earlier request to turn down his music, the situation was forced to escalate. They say the dog was shot because the police officers "[had] a guy handcuffed that’s kind of defenseless. We [had] a duty to defend him, too.” So instead of pepper spraying Max or uncuffing Rosby, which would allow him to calm his dog, you shoot Max? To protect the owner? Riiiight.
Naturally, Rosby was distraught in a video interview yesterday:
It's worth noting that this video pretty much shut down Reddit last night after moderators for the R/videos sub took the clip down just as it became the highest-rated video on the site. Today, Reddit chalked the censorship up to overeager commentators attempting to release the personal information of the officers involved. The clip is all over Reddit again.
UPDATE: Here's a longer video which shows Rosby arguably acting obnoxiously to the officers, who were after all, raiding a house. It won't help his cause.
I still feel terrible for ole Max, though.