AUGUST 14, 2013 UPDATE: Leon Rosby pleaded not guilty yesterday to all charges. “I don’t go out and have individual conversations with anybody. I don’t even know what they are talking about,” he told reporters, according to CBS Los Angeles. He said the second video of Max’s shooting was actually more damaging than the first. “So let the video speak for itself,” he said. “The second one more so than anything.”
Rosby appeared at last night’s packed Hawthorne City Council meeting with an urn containing Max’s ashes. “He wasn’t just a dog, he was a family member,” Rosby told the council. He and several others in attendance asked that the police officer who shot Max be disciplined.
Leon Rosby, whose Rottweiler, Max, was shot to death by a Hawthorne, Calif., police officer in June, sparking international outrage, was charged today with six felony counts for allegedly intimidating a witness of the shooting.
The felony charges include dissuading a witness from prosecuting a crime, intimidating a witness and making criminal threats. Rosby was also charged with one misdemeanor count of resisting arrest.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office conducted an investigation into the Hawthorne Police Department’s allegation that Rosby interfered with police activity at the crime scene where 3-year-old Max was shot on June 30.
Rosby had been driving home from the dog park with Max when he saw a police barricade situation and stopped to check it out. With Max on a leash, he walked over and, according to the Hawthorne Police Department, got too close and interfered with the officers.
Rosby walked back to his car and put Max inside. When two officers following Rosby put him in handcuffs, Max jumped out of an open window and approached the officers, barking at them. As Max jumped toward an officer, he was shot four times.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is currently conducting an investigation into whether the officer who shot Max took appropriate action.
A few days after the first shocking video of the incident was posted, another video surfaced that was taken by a witness from a different angle. The Hawthorne Police Department said the second video proved the officer had good reason to shoot Max.
According to the Los Angeles Times, prosecutors say Rosby went to the home of the woman who took the second video and verbally threatened her and her son.
Rosby could face up to five years in prison if he is convicted. He is being represented by high-profile attorney Mark Geragos, whose previous clients include Michael Jackson, Chris Brown and Winona Ryder.
Geragos told the L.A. Times that the charges against Rosby were “one of the biggest perversions of the criminal justice system” he’d seen.
“They executed his dog. They broke his ribs a year ago [during an arrest]. They manufactured felonies against my client,” he said.
On the Justice 4 Max – My Baby Rottweiler Killed By Hawthorne, CA, Police Facebook page Sunday, Rosby wrote, “First they assault me and false imprison me and then harass me and kill Max and now they are lying on me to get me to stop…and to silence me…”
The City of Hawthorne has been making news headlines recently for reasons other than the killing of Max. Last week, Mayor Daniel Juarez was charged with four counts of perjury, including a charge that he pocketed a $2,500 donation from the American Youth Soccer Association that was supposed to go to a memorial fund for a fallen police officer. Last month Karina Preza, a mother of three, died after she pulled out of an alley and her car was sideswiped by a speeding Hawthorne Police cruiser. Witnesses did not hear a siren before the crash.
Rosby was expected to surrender today. Prosecutors have asked that his bail be set at $310,000.