July 6, 2013
Those who turned out in support of Leon Rosby, whose dog Max was shot and killed by Hawthorne Police Officer Jeffrey Hawthorne on June 30, had the opportunity to hear Leon speak.
Leon explained before the attendees of how he had raised Max from a six-week-old puppy, and how Max is the hero being honored by those who turned out.
Leon also brought his children Mykel and Joshua, ages 12 and 13, who are also grieving Max’s death.
The protest, which remained peaceful considering the circumstances, was conducted to bring about change in the Hawthorne Police Department. Leon has asked for a full investigation of the incident, including a review of the officers.
Sgt. Joe Romero with the department says their department is open to a training program that will prevent another incident of this kind saying
“You always learn from history and this is one incident that’s at the forefront and we will definitely review all the practices that took place that day and we will try to implement and evaluate what are the best practices.”
A former LA County Safety police officer was in attendance in support of Leon. Andre Harrington, said
“Police should train these officers in how to be better-suited in using non-lethal weapons on animals. There’s so many things these officers could have done prior to using lethal force.”
Andre suggested the use of Tasers, calling animal control, or allowing a dog owner to deal with the dog.
It’s typical that Hawthorne Police Department has a training program in place for their K-9 unit, but no protocol on dealing with dogs they come across as they perform their duties. This is the protocol for most police departments and needs to be changed.
Perhaps Max’s death will bring about training in dog behavior and non-lethal constraint. Not only in Hawthorne, but with police departments nationwide. Not likely, but it’s a nice thought.
This dog shot by police incident has most likely caused more threats to human life than any incident to date. Hawthorne has had to reassign the officers involved to desk duty, due to death threats. The department is now collaborating with internet security specialists and federal agencies to beef up firewalls and evaluate threats made towards them.
Animal advocates are prepared to stage as many protests as necessary to end police procedure to “shoot first and ask questions later.”
Dogs are now considered family members. Until police learn this and come up with a procedure that doesn’t give them the right to shoot a dog as a first defense, many more dogs are likely to die by inadequately trained officers.
Readers, do you believe this tragic case is the turning point in dogs being shot by police? Officers nationwide who have followed the case through the media must see that bad behavior concerning family dogs will no longer be tolerated. Do you think a police officer will now think twice before shooting a dog?