Last week, we told you about the horrific police shooting of a Rottweiler named Max in front of his owner, an act that was captured on video. Public outrage over the incident, which was immediate, has not slowed. However, many people are crossing the line with death threats against the officers. On Wednesday, four days after the shooting on Wednesday, the department pulled the three officers who appeared in the video from street duty.
Hawthorne, California, police Lt. Scott Swain said the decision stemmed from a “an inundation of threats over the telephone, on Facebook, and in emails,” according to the Daily Breeze.
The video of the incident has gone viral, and public outrage continues to grow. You can watch the video here. We don’t recommend doing so. It’s graphic and hard to watch.
“I understand that people have been affected by this video. Anyone would be,” Swain said. “The police officers involved are affected by this incident and having to kill a dog. I don’t understand how it translates into an eye for an eye. ‘We are going to kill you and your family because of this incident.’ Like in my case. I wasn’t even working that night.”
“There’s been death threats,” he said. “You’d like to believe that maybe some of the people are just venting, but then you’ve got to be realistic — there are crazy people out there.”
Anonymous, the computer hacking activist group, has also jumped into the fray, vowing to target the Hawthorne Police Department, according to the Daily Breeze. In a video posted to YouTube Wednesday, a person in a Guy Fawkes mask (commonly used by members), reads from a statement saying that the shooting is “unacceptable” and vows retaliation.
“Police of Hawthorne you must know that you are our primary target,” the person says in a digitally altered voice. “This matter will not remain unresolved.”
On Monday, the Hawthorne Police Department website went down and remained down all week (as of Friday it was still down). Earlier it was reported that the site simply went down because of people going to the site to complain about the incident. Now, a source disputes that version of events.
“We are not sure who is responsible, but there was a DDOS, or distributed denial of service, attack,” a police source told the Daily Breeze on the condition of anonymity. “The city website has been down since Monday. The city is working with the Web host to get the site back up.”
Anonymous didn’t take credit, but denial-of-service attacks are often used by the group.
Watch the video from Anonymous (but use caution, as the end contains unedited footage of the extremely graphic shooting):
Reaction to the shooting has also come in the form of online petitions, which have sprung up at change.org (at last check, more than 88,000 signatures), causes.com (more than 77,000 signatures) and whitehouse.gov (more than 95,000 signatures). The petitions seek to get the officer or officers involved in the shooting fired and charged with animal cruelty.
The Hawthorne Police Department has launched an internal affairs investigation of the officers’ actions.
We know tempers are running hot on this, but death threats have no place in seeking justice for Max.
Via the Daily Breeze