Police officers take an oath to uphold the law and not to violate citizen's Constitutionally protected rights to film the police nor to put the public in harms way.
A Hawthorne Police department officer shot and killed a man's dog after they arrested him for doing nothing more than standing on a public sidewalk more than 25 yards away from the two officers who initiated contact with Leon Rosby.
Leon Rosby like all American citizens has a right and a public duty to film police officers conducting business in full view of the public. According to the First Circuit Court of Federal appeals, the filming of government officials engaged in their duties in a public place fits comfortably within the principles of protected First Amendment activity. They also wrote in their 2011 decision that "Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting the free discussion of governmental affairs,”.
The court also recognized that "The proliferation of electronic devices with video-recording capability means that many of our images of current events come from bystanders with a ready cell phone or digital camera rather than a traditional film crew, and news stories are now just as likely to be broken by a blogger at her computer as a reporter at a major newspaper. Such developments make clear why the news-gathering protections of the First Amendment cannot turn on professional credentials or status.”
Therefore, it is clear that Leon Rosby was acting within the scope of his protected First Amendment rights and was doing the public a service by participating in investigative citizen journalism. If the two Hawthorne Police officers had respected Leon Rosby's rights, his canine companion would not have been instinctively moved to come to his rescue. We demand that the two officers who violated Rosby's rights be terminated and the officer who shot and killed his companion be terminated for his actions, which include discharging his firearm and endangering the public.
Mayor Daniel Juarez: 310-643-6139
Chief of Police Robert Fager: 310-675-4443