Yesterday afternoon, the jury in the case of People v. Leon Rosby, found Rosby not guilty of dissuading a witness. They deadlocked 8-4 in his favor on two counts of interfering with a police officer.
Rosby was the center of controversy after his dog, Max, was shot and killed by Hawthorn Police Department on June 30, 2013. On that day, Rosby was at the scene of a police action at 137th and Jefferson Avenue in Hawthorn, Calif., along with many other residents. He was filming the police, a constitutionally protected act.
After Hawthorn Police took three people into custody, they arrested Rosby, claiming the music from his vehicle was too loud and it was interfering with their crime scene. Rosby surrendered peacefully, turning around so they could cuff him.
Max, who was in Rosby’s vehicle, became agitated and jumped through a window. A Hawthorn Police Officer opened fire on the dog and killed him in his tracks in front of and surrounded by a number of bystanders.
The video of the shooting went viral. Outraged animal lovers from around the world contacted Hawthorn Police Department via email, crashing the department’s computer system for days.
Initially, Rosby was charged with a number of felonies. Most of the charges were dropped but the state insisted on proceeding with a case against him accusing him of trying to dissuade two witnesses against him. One witness later recanted her story. The second witness stood by his original statement. The jury decided there was not enough evidence to prove Rosby was guilty.
The other two charges, interfering with a police officer, could be retried but it is unlikely. Rosby must return to court on April 7 to find out if prosecutors choose that avenue.
Rosby has maintained that he was innocent since the June 2013 incident, claiming the charges were trumped up to prevent him from filing a civil claim. Famed criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos, represents him in both the criminal trial and civil lawsuit against the city.