The case of Leon Rosby out of Hawthorne, CA is a reminder to us all that the police do not like to be recorded on video.
For those unaware of the case, Leon Rosby was filming police officers on a public street in a neighborhood when they approached and arrested him. During the arrest, Rosby’s dog approached the scene, at which point the officers shot and killed the animal.
Over the last few years there has been a flurry of incidents across the country in which private citizens have been harassed or even arrested for recording video of police activity. Often their cameras have been confiscated and their video erased before being returned to them. According to attorneys, the main legal limitation on recording police activity in public areas is that a person cannot interfere with police actions.
Even though the video recording by dog owner Leon Rosby in Hawthorne appears to have been legal, police arrested him anyway. But why? It seems that officers viewed his video recording as a threat – simply because their actions were being recorded. In this case the videos will be important evidence for an attorney to use in court.As the police arrested this first individual for his voluntary surveillance activity, another person nearby was recording their actions on his cellphone camera. That second video has gone viral and has been subject of analysis both by amateur videographers, attorneys, and forensic video experts.
Police said he was playing “loud, distracting” music in his vehicle and walking in close proximity to the officers involved in the stand-off: “These acts, in totality, created an increasingly dangerous situation,” according to a police statement. They claim that Rosby interfered with police activity.
A cellphone video that had more than 3.7 million views on YouTube by last Thursday morning shows Leon Rosby’s dog being shot after scrambling out of a car’s back seat through a window and lunging at officers who had handcuffed its master.