A man is filming on-duty police in Hawthorne California. He is walking his dog on a leash. He is filming from a distance. He is holding his phone up, NOT like a gun but like a phone. When he is done either he hears the police say something or he believes that filming the police is illegal and submits himself to the police for arrest. Video link (<—WARNING, GRAPHIC VIDEO. DOG SHOOTING.)

Did the man know it was legal to film? Did the cops? Did they arrest him for filming or some other reason?

I can see how the dog getting shot will upset people, but from the point of view of the police, a large dog is running at them. The dog doesn’t respond to verbal commands and the officers felt the need to protect themselves. They probably did nothing wrong, according to their own guidelines. Also, the man did not have control of his dog during the incident. Of course he was handcuffed, but he could have put the dog in the car with the windows partly up or he could have giving the leash to someone else.  I’m sure we will hear from the Hawthorne police on this incident soon to explain why they acted the way they did.

But you know me, ol’ Spocko. I’m interested educating people as well as getting them active. I’d really like more people to know the rules on filming police. Here is one guide from Gizmodo. This guy appears to know the rules. He doesn’t hold his phone like a gun. He does it openly and from a distance. Recent rulings in other states have said that filming police officers on duty from a distance, and not interfering, is legal. Yet the man either heard from the police that it was illegal or assumed it was illegal and submitted himself for arrest.

I spotted this on Reddit and I’m going to call my friends at the EFF to get an idea if they know about this. I found this article from an LA lawyer that seems to say it is legal, but of course I don’t know the whole situation.

I’m sure that the Hawthorne police will be on the defensive after Reddit gets done calling them. Here is their contact info if anyone wants to call them and ask the story about the arrest and the shooting.

UPDATE:
An update that I got from Gawker.

According to Rosby’s attorney, Michael Gulden, Rosby was simply videotaping a police action in his Hawthorne neighborhood when cops approached him to arrest him for “obstructing an investigation,” a charge Gulden calls “ridiculous.” “[H]e was driving by and noticed the police activity and stopped to watch,” Gulden told me in an email, “as is common when this type of activity is going on in any neighborhood.”

So it looks like they are calling it “obstructing an investigation” and saying he was playing his music too loud. They couldn’t hear what was going on in the armed robbery they were investigating. Interesting spin. Also the man Leon Rosby is involved in a lawsuit against the police for excessive force. All in the Gawker article.

I posted this below, but here is a link to the video of Rosby telling his view of what happened.

The police have a lot of latitude when it comes to why they decide to arrest you. But they didn’t say it was for videotaping them, although that might just be them “getting their stories straight” after the fact since the people spokesperson was obviously involved.

I see that tambershall has a further update here on the police scrubbing their Facebook page.  I will be interested to see how they talk about this on social media.