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Owner of Rottweiler shot by Hawthorne police arraigned on felony charges

Leon Cordell Rosby. (27827)
Leon Cordell Rosby.

HAWTHORNE, Calif. — The owner of a Rottweiler that was fatally shot by Hawthorne police, prompting protests and threats against the department when a video of the shooting was circulated online, pleaded not guilty today to a series of felonies, including dissuading a witness and making criminal threats.

Leon Cordell Rosby, 52, was charged Friday with two felony counts each of dissuading a witness from prosecuting a crime, intimidation of a witness and making criminal threats, along with one misdemeanor count of resisting arrest, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

At his arraignment, Rosby was taken into custody, with bail set at $310,000. He was due back in court Sept. 10 for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence for him to stand trial.

“First and foremost, I want justice for Max and I want justice for me,” he said. “I have continuously been retaliated against by the Hawthorne Police Department, and I want them to stop. My family has been intimidated, I’m being intimidated and I want them to stop harassing me.”

Rosby made headlines after the June 30 shooting of his Rottweiler, named Max, by Hawthorne police near 137th Street and Jefferson Avenue, where officers were on the scene of a barricade situation. According to police, Rosby pulled up to the scene and began taking pictures. Police determined he was interfering with officers, who decided to arrest him.

The dog, which had been in the backseat of Rosby’s car, jumped out and began lunging at officers. One officer fired four shots at the dog, killing it.

A graphic video of the shooting was posted on YouTube, gaining national attention and millions of views.

Hawthorne police came under fire after the shooting, and the officers seen in the video were placed on desk duty in response to threats against them and their families, Hawthorne Police Chief Robert Fager said shortly after the shooting.

According to the District Attorney’s Office, Rosby allegedly confronted a witness who took a second video of the shooting. That video, which was released by the Hawthorne Police Department, showed more actions taken by the officer prior to the dog’s shooting, prosecutors said.

Rosby allegedly had a verbal confrontation with the woman who shot the video, along with her son, prosecutors said.

He faces up to five years in prison if convicted, according to the District Attorney’s Office.