For the last few days, the FB and Twitter universes have been a buzz with threats against the police and photos being passed around featuring memes about the police arresting you and killing your dog just because you’re recording them. Now I’m not saying some of this isn’t well deserved criticism brought on by over zealous officers over stepping their bounds and trampling on the rights of citizens. However, I don’t think all that is justified in the recent case of Hawthorne PDs shooting of a Rottweiler in California. So, allow me to play the Devil’s Advocate for a second before we crucify an officer and his department.
Having watched the video above, knowing what has happened as a result of this video going viral, there is no question in my mind the officer MIGHT have handled the situation differently if he had it to do over again. But, I’m not faulting the officer either. Based on the force continuum taught in most reputable use of force programs and the law as I understand it, the officers’ actions are legally justifiable as it applies to all of us and even tactically sound according to many officers I’ve asked. The officers’ priority during this incident was maintaining control of an active scene during which they had an unknown number of persons with whom they were dealing and it was obvious they were basically trying to lock down that block while the made entry on a house in the background. Leon Rosby interjected himself into that scene by parking on that block with his music turned up and stepping into an active scene where everyone else was smart enough to stay back or at least in their own yards as I could see with one person in the video. When asked to leave or at least stay back to avoid being considered an obstruction, Rosby did not comply.
Keep in mind the police were dealing with what appears to have been a barricaded suspect not 100 yards from Rosby. The officers told Rosby to turn down the music and step back. He refused and didn’t put his dog away until it was clear the officers were going to confront him again at which point he volunteered himself to be handcuffed. What he could have done before that was get in his car and leave. It’s highly unlikely the police would have chased him if he’d left. At the very least he could have walked across the street to the same vantage point as the person shooting the video above as instructed the first time. Again, if this was really about the police having a problem with you recording them, then how is it the folks who provided us the video of Leon’s dog getting shot, did so without getting arrested or molested in any way? And don’t you dare say it was because he was black!