HAWTHORNE, Calif. (KTLA) — The Hawthorne Police Department urged the public not to rush to judgement on Wednesday in the wake of a controversial police shooting of a dog.
The department’s chief of police Robert Fager said during a news conference that the three officers involved in the incident had been taken off of field duty because they received a series of death threats.
Fager also announced the department would investigate the deadly shooting.
It all started when dog owner, Leon Rosby, took video of police officers outside a barricade in Hawthorne, about 15 miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles, on Sunday.
Rosby, 52, was walking his Rottweiler, Max, and recording the stand-off with armed robbers on his cell phone camera.
As police approached Rosby, he could be seen placing his dog in his car and then putting his hands behind his back to be arrested.
As Rosby was being handcuffed, Max started barking and jumped out of the car.
When Max approached the officers, one of them shot him four times.
A bystander recorded video of the dog lunging at officers and being shot, then posted it on YouTube.
The YouTube video of the incident went viral and as of Wednesday evening it had been viewed more than three million times.
Rosby was arrested for disturbing a crime scene, police said.
He plans to sue the Hawthorne Police Department, his attorney said.