Leon Rosby has filed a civil suit against the city of Hawthorne, California and three police officers, alleging that they intentionally sought to “intimidate” and cause him “psychological trauma” when they shot and killed his 2-year-old Rottweiler, Max, during a confrontation last summer, reports the L.A. Times.
As previously reported by NewsOne, Hawthorne police officers were responding to an armed robbery call when Rosby, who claims that the department has a “pattern of harassing conduct,” arrived on the scene and got out of his car to film the activity on his cellphone.
Rosby’s music was blaring from his car’s speakers, which officers claim was interfering with their ability to do their job.
“It’s distracting the officers,” said Hawthorne police spokesman Lt. Scott Swain. “It’s interfering with what they are able to hear. It’s not just a party call. It’s an armed robbery call. The officers need to hear what’s going on with the people being called out of the residence. That music in his car is bleeding over and it’s distracting them.”
“I do apologize if I didn’t immediately comply. The music may have been a little loud but I was complying,” Rosby said at the time. “I said, ‘Sir, I want to make sure nobody’s civil rights were being violated.’”
Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse.
Police officers handcuffed Rosby which agitated Max, who was sitting in the idling car with the windows down. The dog jumped out of the window, barking and lunging at a police officer who then shot him four times.
He died at the scene.
The video of Max’s death went viral and currently has over 5,800,000 views.
“There was no way Max should have died like that,” Rosby said. “Max was only protecting his master. He was trying to stop them from beating on me.”
Read more about Rosby’s civil suit from the L.A. Times:
According to the suit, the officers’ conduct was “directed at Mr. Rosby and was intended to intimidate and harm him and to cause psychological trauma” by forcing him to watch his dog being killed.
The suit calls the officer’s conduct “extreme and outrageous, and beyond the bounds of decency,” adding that Rosby suffered “severe emotional distress.”
“It was devastating,” Rosby told The Times after the shooting. “His love for me was so extraordinary that he actually died for me.”
According to the lawsuit, officers then filed false police reports, alleging that Rosby had been the aggressor in the confrontation and had intimidated witnesses on scene.
Prosecutors and police also alleged Rosby went to the home of the witness who provided the second video, verbally confronting her and her son.
The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office subsequently charged Rosby with six felony counts, including intimidating a witness, dissuading a witness from prosecuting a crime and making criminal threats, as well as a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest.
Mark Geragos, an attorney for Rosby, called the shooting and subsequent charges the “height of police misconduct.”
Watch Hawthorne police shoot Rosby’s dog below [TRIGGER WARNING: Violence, Animal Cruelty]:
This is not Rosby’s first time pursuing legal action against the Hawthorne police department.
He filed a lawsuit against two police officers in March, “contending officers broke one of his ribs when they responded to a domestic violence disturbance at his house, not far from the dog shooting scene,” reports the Daily Breeze.
“There’s been a pattern of harassment against him and other African-Americans in Hawthorne,” said Rosby’s attorney, Michael Gulden. “Last July, the police responded to his home and beat him unnecessarily, then threw him in jail for no reason. We sued for that. We’ll amend that complaint to include the dog incident.”
Rosby’s preliminary hearing to face the numerous charges brought against him is scheduled for March 14.