Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Dog Down Afternoon

I'm going to make this really quick.

If you're a faithful internet denizen then there's a pretty good chance that by now you've actually seen the video of -- or are at least aware of -- a cop in Hawthorne, California shooting a dog four times and killing it during the arrest of its owner. Is it shocking? Yes. Is it tragic? Certainly.

Was it a good shoot? Was it a justified use of deadly force? Absolutely.

If you can handle it, watch the video from start to finish. 52-year-old Leon Rosby is walking his 80-pound rottweiler past a police scene when he starts videotaping it, which is no big deal. When he starts yelling at the cops, though -- antagonizing them -- that's a different story. There could very well be a racial element to this story, potentially one no more specific than the history of friction between the police and the black community here in Southern California, and that deserves to be taken into consideration.

However, once the two cops on the scene walk over and start to ostensibly arrest Rosby, the dog comes after them. I get that this is the standard reaction of a really great dog to a threat on its owner, but it's still a very angry 80-pound rottweiler we're talking about. One cop tries to grab the dog's leash, which to be honest if I'm dealing with a dog like that would be way beyond the call of duty -- though it's an understandable reaction because nobody wants to see a dog hurt -- but once it lunges, that's it. All bets are off.

If I'm that cop, and it's me or a very big dog that's about to rip me to shreds, that dog's gotta be stopped, no matter what it takes. If I don't have a taser drawn or a beanbag round in a shotgun nearby, I'm shooting it. Simple as that.

A lot of cops are serious pricks, no doubt. But just as many are good men and women under unbelievable stress in a job where if they hesitate they get killed and if they don't they get publicly crucified. They do a job I wouldn't want in a million years, which is why I tend to cut them some slack until they've proven that they don't fucking deserve it. Shooting a rottweiler that's coming after you just doesn't seem all that controversial to me.

The New York Daily News: Graphic Video as Police Shoot Dog/7.2.13


J.A. Morris said...

The dog had a name, his name was Max, your piece should have mentioned this.
Nope, not justified in any way.
Their lives were never in danger,they out numbered the dog ergo lethal force was not justified. I hope these guys lose their jobs and are charged with animal cruelty.
I don't have much use for PETA, but I hope they rain down like Hell on the Hawthorne PD and make these dog killers lives miserable for this. And I expect more reasonable orgs like ASPCA will also be paying a visit to Hawthorne.

I don't believe all cops are bad cops,but these cops are,this should have never happened.

Max is dead because these cops used deadly force when it wasn't necessary.

Chez said...

Bullshit. "Max" did admittedly what dogs are inclined to do when their owners are threatened. The police, however, did the same thing.

While cops can screw up and should be held accountable when they do so, I really can't abide anybody who decides that he or she can second-guess what's a truly hostile situation and what isn't simply by watching from the safety of his or her home. As far as I'm concerned, a really big, pissed-off rottweiler bearing down on me is life-threatening and can be responded to with lethal force if necessary.

Your insistence that it's important that we remember "Max's" name and that I needed to include it lets me know that the only ending to this unfortunate incident you would've found satisfying would have involved the police potentially sacrificing their own lives to save the dogs. Sorry, a human life is worth more than a dog's life. Period. You disagree or equivocate on that even for a second then you're not worth listening to.

J.A. Morris said...

"the only ending to this unfortunate incident you would've found satisfying would have involved the police potentially sacrificing their own lives to save the dogs. Sorry, a human life is worth more than a dog's life."
That's a big leap to make, no I don't feel that way at all.
I agree. A human's life is worth more than a dog's life, but the cops' lives were never in danger, so your argument is invalid.

Chez said...

What part of my not abiding your second-guessing wasn't clear? You've decided based on what you saw and what you wanted to see that no one's life was in danger and, I assume, that grievous bodily injury wasn't threatened.

You weren't there, though. You weren't the one with the 80-pound dog jumping at you.

You literally have nothing. Not even an invalid argument but no argument at all.

peabody nobis said...

Really? So you're okay with living in a police state?
How did he "obstruct justice", which was what the excuse was for arresting him. He was simply taking a video with his phone, as many others were at the time. His mistake? Drawing attention to himself. And that's a crime now?
Geez, Chez. Have you ever had a dog? It's the next closest thing to having a kid.
That didn't have to happen. The cops wanted to show who was boss.

Chez said...

Sorry, that's the buzzer. You said the magic words: police state. You automatically lose.

peabody nobis said...

That's a easy out, Chez. Defend what they did as opposed to the alleged 'crime'.

Chez said...

Whether or not the arrest was justified is irrelevant when it comes to the question of shooting the dog. There was some kind of active scene and here comes a variable, a guy who starts yelling and -- as the guy shooting the actual video says -- "messing with the police" while they're trying to do their job. That job involves containing variables if they become a problem and, yes, police will occasionally seek out probable cause to make that happen. Not saying it's always right, but again it's irrelevant to the dog shooting.

The dog came after the cop. The cop spent several seconds trying to subdue the dog by grabbing the leash, etc. When it lunged, the police fired. I very likely would've done the same thing.

peabody nobis said...

I don't fault them for shooting the dog. I fault them for escalating the situation unnecessarily.
There was no good reason for their action.

Chez said...

That's your opinion based on absolutely zero knowledge of the facts. In other words, your opinion is worthless.

peabody nobis said...

It may be worthless, but the point is not invalid.
I watched the video. What type of aggressive action did the man take to warrant his arrest?

Chez said...

How many times am I going to have to say this? It has nothing to do with aggression and everything to do, potentially, with a variable during an evolving police scene that needs to be contained because it's already showing that it has no trouble with trying to get in the way. The goal, if he's standing there shouting and trying to hassle the cops, is to take him out of the picture -- even just temporarily. It's moments like that -- when you're being an antagonistic asshole while the police are trying to do their jobs -- that they'll look for probably cause to arrest you so that they don't have to worry about what you might do next since they've already got a scene they're concerning themselves with.

Now, sincerely, I hope that finally sinks in. Or you can just continue to default to the position that we live in a police state, etc. etc. Either way, if you've got nothing else (and you apparently don't)...

ZIRGAR said...

I hate that this happened. This dog didn't need to die and it's the dog's owner's fault that it did. This dog should never have been placed in a situation where the cops had to make a deadly decision to begin with.

indigotea said...

I love dogs. I spend a great deal of my time and money training and rescuing them. For over 20 years, it's been my hobby. And I've been bitten, and can tell you, while it's never been life-threatening, it's sure as hell nothing to brush off. Dog teeth are bacteria injection devices.

That being said, there's a lot of blame to go around in this case, primarily to the owner who put his dog in a position the dog couldn't solve.

I do wish cops had a little training in how to deal in non-lethal methods of dog control, because this isn't some isolated case. It happens all the time and they should have options, if for no other reason than their OWN safety. A cop hurting a dog with pepper spray or something may just amp up the adrenaline even more and make it more dangerous. Never mind the fact that an angry and upset dog owner is not going to be calmer after his dog is killed.

I carry a product called DirectStop (essentially a citronella spray) with me when I'm walking my small dogs, and I've used it to stop charging big dogs (Weimeraners and mixed breeds) in their tracks without causing any harm to the animal or increasing aggression. It comes in a can the same size as pepper spray and weighs a couple of ounces. Postal carriers often carry it, too. If the cops had known about it and had access to it, maybe we wouldn't be watching this video today.

J.A. Morris said...

Looks like the shooter was Officer Jeffrey Salmon. Who is Jeffrey Salmon?:

"Jeffrey Salmon was one of seven Hawthorne Police Department officers charged with alleged deprivation of civil rights resulting from excessive force, denial of medical treatment and malicious prosecution, stemming from an incident that occurred on July 21, 2006. Hawthorne Police Department settled that lawsuit for one million dollars."

"On July 21, 2006, the Hawthorne Police Department received a loud noise complaint. Plaintiffs contend that in shutting down the party, officers beat plaintiff Anthony Goodrow, handcuffed him and then continued to beat him. It was further alleged that while Mr. Goodrow was handcuffed and face down on the cement, an Officer kicked Mr. Goodrow in the face breaking his jaw. Mr. Goodrow alleged he was arrested and taken to the jail instead of the hospital causing a delay in medical treatment. The wife of Mr. Goodrow, Karla Henriquez Goodrow, alleged she witnessed part of the beating and screamed for officers to stop. She alleged they arrested her and falsely charged her with public intoxication."

Salmon admitted the abuse:
"Jeffrey Salmon, who acknowledged kicking Goodrow twice in the ribs, testified that he was aware of an investigation but was never interviewed."
What a fuckin hero, right? He shouldn't have been on the force, let alone at the scene. Salmon is to policing what Glenn Greenwald is to lawyers & journalists.

The LA Times link also shows the Hawthorne PD tried to cover this up.

And the PD also had another abuse case involving the tazing of an autistic
12 year old.

The boy's father filed a complaint, which resulting in the Hawthorne PD's retaliatory arrest of the boy the next day.

That's 2 high profile cases of abuse of power from the Hawthorne police.
Rosby may not be God's gift to humanity,but if they came in to my neighborhood, I might be tempted to grab a camcorder too.

We do NOT live in a police state, but we do live in a country where bad cops do bad things. Salmon is the dictionary definition of a bad cop. When you allow a loose cannon like him to walk around with a badge & gun, bad things are going to happen.
And it looks like Hawthorne is the definition of corrupt PD. Allowing them to get away with abuse only empowers future abuse and diverts attention from the mostly good things that cops do every day. And it also gives libertarian freaks a chance to scream "police state!", which doesn't help either.
So if you want to keep defending Salmon, I thought you should know you're defending a thug.

Krissy said...

As a veterinary nurse who has had a rottweiler come at her, I'm torn by this. The rottweiler that came at me was over 100lbs and almost as tall as me. I nearly wet myself and had a heart attack at the same time. The reaction one has to something like this is pure instinct, not a lot of time for logical thought process. However, I've also seen an American Bulldog (also over 100lbs) who was shot by cops when he came at them as they broke into an apartment during an apparent drug bust. They shot him in the thigh to stop him, he recovered fine and was a total sweetheart of a dog. One shot to stop the rotti is justifiable. Shooting him 4 times and killing him was excessive.

Chez said...

Wow. Well, thanks for that. That masters' thesis changes everything.

Except that it changes nothing. It always fascinates me to watch commenters step up and inject their personal biases into a discussion where they're not at all called for. The past and record of Jeffrey Salmon or the Hawthorne PD, in this specific instance, is once again for the cheap seats or simply the incredibly dense, irrelevant. At no point did I argue in the post that the arrest was good; I've simply provided explanations as to how it might be good and why it can't immediately be dismissed as unnecessary.

But really, again, that barely matters, since the post itself was about this specific event -- namely the shooting of the dog. If you watch the video, the cop -- Jeffrey Salmon or whomever -- was within his right to shoot and kill the dog. Anything else you add to this conversation is meaningless since it has nothing to do with what happened on this specific day, in this specific incident. Maybe Jeffrey Salmon is a terrible cop and the Hawthorne PD is awful at doing its job (although when you're talking about a police record and certainly the history of an entire department, you're almost certainly going to find complaints and misbehavior, respectively, somewhere); it doesn't matter ONE BIT. Because this time what he did -- what they did -- was justified.

Now, you really want to continue this? I'd honestly suggest you save yourself the time and trouble.

Chez said...

Krissy posted as I was banging out my above comment. Obviously it's intended for JA Morris.

Anonymous said...

Christ Chez but you are a deferential creature to authority. I watched the video several times and clearly even though the man was talking out loud, he made no aggressive movements and gave no one any sense that he was or would be a problem. Just a vocal citizen taping cops and clearly not interfering. But that's the problem, right, he wasn't deferential enough and the cops just had to teach him a lesson. Daddy taught you well.

Chez said...

You weren't there, ergo your opinion is meaningless. You have no idea what was going on and no idea what kind of even potential threat or hinderance that guy posed. You also don't know whether the initial intention was to truly arrest the guy or just get him out of the way temporarily. You know nothing. But you sure do have a lot of certitude and you definitely know how to make assumptions. And, again, you're basically just another anonymous asshole, making your views even more worthless.

This post was never about the arrest, only about the question of whether the cops were justified in the shooting the dog. But of course, there are those who've decided to make this all about the arrest -- which is absolutely irrelevant.

Again, you got nothing.

peabody nobis said...

Saying the arrest is irrelevant to shooting the dog is like saying sex is irrelevant to having a child; it makes no sense.
Without the unnecessary arrest, the dog is not shot. The cops just wanted to show who had the biggest swinging dick, and it cost the dog it's life.
I agree that the wise thing for the owner to have done was to keep on driving, but he didn't, and the cops made him pay. Again, I don't fault the cops for shooting the dog when it became aggressive. I've been around huge-ass Rotts before, and they can be scary just standing there. But there were a whole lot of options for the cops other than accosting the man and arresting him.
And by the way, Chez, insulting your readers is not the ideal way to run a business. I've been reading you for 5 or 6 years now, surely you understand that others can have opinions that differ from yours.

Anonymous said...

It seems like all the facts that oppose your viewpoint are "irrelevant." I guess that's a clever way to win any argument.

Chez said...

No, oh anonymous one. Why the arrest was made or the fact that it was made at all is irrelevant to whether shooting a dog that's apparently about to attack you -- as this one unfortunately was -- is justified. But now, how many times have I said this.

Peabody, and Morris and so on, first of all let me say that while I disagree with your points I do thank you for voicing them. If you've read as long as you claim, Peabody, then you know that I'm a huge fan of dissent and I'm always willing to admit when I'm wrong. I also want to thank you guys for having the good sense to attach a name and identity to your arguments -- it really does make me take you a hell of a lot more seriously. By the way, Peabody, this blog isn't a business and it certainly isn't a democracy, I'll admit that. Either way, my intention was never to insult you personally -- if it came off that way then I apologize.

Now, I will try one last time to make my point, and I'm going to stay steadfast on this. Leon Rosby walked up to an active police scene. He stopped his car and got out with his music cranking and began shooting video and yelling at the police. Now here's my issue with those who say that his arrest wasn't necessary (and I'm not even going to entertain the idea that this was a big swinging dick competition or flexing of muscle because I'm sorry but that calls for one hell of an assumption and one you can't logically make): You simply don't have all the facts. You don't know what was going on at that scene, what the police were dealing with and whether Leon Rosby really was presenting a problem. If there's some kind of situation going on and somebody makes it a point to walk over and start shouting, the cops may want to make sure that guy isn't a threat. And that's another thing: If the police themselves aren't sure what they're dealing with, they have no idea whether Rosby IS A THREAT. He probably isn't. He's probably just a frustrated citizen or an asshole or both. But they don't know that and they're not willing to put their lives and the lives of others, including other cops, in harm's way and simply dismiss the shouting guy at the edge of the scene outright. That can get them killed. Guy yelling. Car blasting music. Big dog. I'd probably try to get him out of there in one way or another too.

By the way, it's worth mentioning that the cops actually do ignore Rosby for a bit until they realize he's not shutting up and he's continuing to interfere or pose a potential interference. So they walk over to him. They don't "escalate the situation" with the dog because Rosby puts the dog back in the car so they may have wrongfully assumed the dog was out of the picture. Rosby then seems to turn around and melodramatically offer himself up for arrest, because they cops hesitate before actually starting to cuff him. (I'm willing to concede since we can't hear that they may have told him to do this, but either way it's not like they rushed in to arrest this guy.)

THAT'S when the dog gets loose and the shooting eventually happens. The police probably should've tried to make sure the dog was truly secured, but again, it's not as if they approached Rosby believing that his dog was going to be a sudden threat. They probably thought the dog was safely in the car.

I don't know whether the arrest was absolutely called for, but here's the thing: YOU don't know whether it wasn't. And since I wasn't there and don't have all the facts about what was going on, I'm not going to automatically assume that there was no reason to arrest this guy or at least restrain him. And again, once the dog got loose and came after the cops, as tragic as it was, WHY Rosby was being arrested or restrained becomes irrelevant to whether police were justified in shooting the dog.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I hope Officer Jeffrey Salmon meets up with a stray bullet.

Why did they arrest this guy anyhow, there were several people taking photos and video, otherwise we wouldn't have the famous YouTube video of the dog being killed.

The officer put his arm out and jumped towards the dog.. trying to get him to jump and attack..

Chez said...

And with that, we roll credits.

Anonymous said...

By your reasoning, if I break into your home to rob you and you wake up, I can kill you can claim it was justified.

You claim that it does not matter if the police were violating the man's civil rights when they went to arrest him. When I break into your home to disturb your peace, don't be alarmed. Stay sleep and allow me to take whatever I want. Otherwise I may have to kill you in self defense? Is that what you are promoting, or is it only valid for cops? [My brother-in-law is a cop. Plug your cop-hater mantra some place else.]

Thank you.

Chez said...

Wow. That's an insane comparison. I'm sure it made sense as you dreamed it up and I have no doubt you sincerely believe that it's the point that will finally put my argument in its place. Unfortunately, you're wrong all the way around.

Anonymous said...

Chez, agree with you, but we're now at the point thanks in part to stuff like the Rodney King video where people think they not only have the right, but it is their PATRIOTIC AMURICAN DUTY BY JEBUS to barge into an ongoing situation involving the police with their phone and take shitty video on said phone all the while screeching and shrieking "FIRST AMENDMENT!!!!! FREE SPEECH!!!! I AIN'T DOIN' NUTHIN' WRONG PIG!!!!!!!!" because of course they know EVERYTHING about:
1) The current situation they have decided to insert themselves into
2) And and all possible laws or aspects of the law which can possibly apply in this particular situation.
3) The PIGS know absolutely NOTHING about the law.

This asshat gives us the added bonus of being such a fuckoid that he just KNOWS that EVERYONE on the GODDAMN planet has just a shitty taste in music as he does and thus he simply MUST share said shitty music with the entire GODDAMN WORLD, never mind it could have made it difficult for the cops to hear each other and thus endanger lives during this particular situation, THE MUSIC MUST AND SHALL BE HEARD, BECAUSE FUCK THE PIGS MAN!!!!!!

One point possibly against the cops is that they didn't have a cop stationed at the intersection ear where this asshat parked so he could have been intercepted before things went all crazypants.