Owner of Rottweiler Shot by Hawthorne Police Charged With Intimidating Witness

Leon Rosby faces six felony counts for an alleged confrontation with a witness to an encounter with police that left his dog dead

The owner of a Rottweiler shot and killed on video by Hawthorne police – generating protest and media attention from across the country – pleaded not guilty Tuesday to multiples felony charges related to the ongoing case.

Leon Cordell Rosby, 52, was charged with two felony counts each of dissuading a witness from prosecuting a crime, intimidation of a witness and making criminal threats, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.

He was also charged with one misdemeanor count of resisting arrest.

Rosby appeared at the Airport Courthouse for arraignment on Tuesday, as shown below with his attorney. Prosecutors planned to ask that his bail be set at $310,000, according to the DA’s office.

When Rosby’s 3-year-old Rottweiler Max was shot by police who had detained Rosby near a barricade crime scene, a video of the June 30 incident posted to YouTube went viral and now has been viewed more than 5 million times.

Threats were made against the Hawthorne Police Department, and multiple protests in support of Max were organized, as was a vigil.

At the court hearing, Rosby's attorney Mark Geragos sparred with the judge, who threatened to sanction the high-profile lawyer for interrupting.

"I would just send a warning shot to Hawthorne PD: The light has been shown on you and, like little cockroaches, you should run away," Geragos said outside the courtroom.

"The cops are now scrambling get him into custody in order to try turn the spotlight away from their actions," Geragos added.

Rosby had called for an end to the threats made against police.

In the June 30 incident, police had said Rosby was taking pictures at the scene and interfering with officers.

Police said he was playing "loud, distracting" music in his vehicle and walking in close proximity to the officers involved in a two-hour stand-off.


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When officers began to handcuff Rosby, Max jumped out of the backseat of his owner’s car and appeared very agitated, lunging at officers.

One officer fired four shots at the dog, killing it. The officers seen in the YouTube video (warning: disturbing content) were placed on desk duty after the shooting, in part in response to the backlash.

After the Hawthorne Police Department released a second video taken by a witness at the scene – showing more of the officer’s actions prior to the shooting – Rosby alleged confronted the witness at her home.

He allegedly went to the home of the witness and had a verbal confrontation with her and her son, the DA’s office said.

He faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

Geragos told the Los Angeles Times that the charges were "one of the biggest perversions of the criminal justice system" he had ever seen.

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