Do yourself a favor and don't watch the video of police in Hawthorne repeatedly shooting the Rottweiler belonging to a man they had just arrested while he was filming their activity. For the sake of putting together this blog post, I found and watched most of the video on YouTube, stopping mid-stream after watching the poor creature flail his legs futilely in the air after multiple gunshots subdued him.
Instead, to get an idea of how disturbing the video is, read the letters below.
Since the shooting, a steady stream of reader letters expressing emotions varying between disgust and outrage have poured into our mailbag. Frankly, for a number of reasons, most of the letters probably aren't publishable. But a handful raise questions about the officers' conduct that deserve to be aired.
Here are those letters.
Dana Point resident Milton B. Rouse wonders why a man filming police activity was arrested:
"One of the saddest things in the world is to see a dog mistreated or killed. When Hawthorne police saw Leon Rosby begin filming their activity, they 'deemed his action interference and placed him under arrest.'
"All who have had a dog know they are loyal and would die for us, as this one did when the police shot him multiple times. This is heartbreaking.
"But it is also a disturbing reminder of how little tolerance many police officers have for bystanders who film their activity. Cellphone cameras have become a powerful tool in documenting the brutal or unfair actions of police.
"If citizens have this tool to objectively document police activity taken away from them, then they have lost a major battle in the fight against unfair or dangerous abuses of power."
Writing from Tulsa, Okla., Larry White says he made his feelings known to the Hawthorne Police Department:
"This is just despicable. I telephoned the Hawthorne Police Department after seeing this disgraceful video. The officer who answered the phone didn't care to answer my questions about the incident. Understandable.
"My heart goes out to the human victim of this shooting -- perpetrated by the Hawthorne police officers who made this questionable arrest -- and to the innocent canine victim, who died at the hands of apparently trigger-happy police."