What Leon Rosby’s Murdered Dog Means: The NSA, Free Speech, Citizen Reporters and More

Over the last week and a half the interwebs have been engulfed by a state of righteous raaaaage over the shooting of a family pet by a Hawthorne, California police officer. And the response shows why the NSA’s surveillance plans could go horribly wrong and victimize the wrong people.

When the video of Hawthorne Police shooting and killing the dog appeared on YouTube–it now has over 4.5 million hits–Internet denizens went to work compiling information on the police officer involved in order to “dox” him–get his name, address, phone number etc. Except they kinda made some errors. They targeted an officer named Swain. Except Swain was not the  officer who did the shooting, but rather the Hawthorne Police Dept spokesperson.

Armed with incorrect information, the cyber sleuths then found a business in the greater Southern California area called Swain’s. In Glendale. Twenty-four miles away and in a whole other city. Putting two and two together, and getting far <9,000, the self-styled superheroes posted Swain’s Art Supply info and the non-stop hostile phone calls to the business began. It got so bad the business had to go to the media and plead for it to stop.

So how does this fit into PRISM, Echelon, Raptor etc? Well, granted those are computer programs. But computers are programmed by humans. And ultimately the decisions to follow through are made by humans. Humans who can and do make mistakes. And  humans work for the NSA and their contractors, so simple math would say at some point one of them is going to make a mistake.


Meanwhile, Anonymous, who claim to  support free speech, effectively squelched  it by DDOSing the  City of Hawthorne’s website. The city claims because it can’t post the city council agenda, they can’t have a meeting. According to NBC-LA:

The city clerk’s office told NBC4 that the regularly scheduled meeting would be canceled because it is required by the state open meeting law — known as the Brown Act — to publicly post the agenda prior to meeting.

“As you are aware, due to the public maelstrom of emotion caused by the police incident involving the Rottweiler, the city website crashed. The website has been down for nearly one week,” said Mayor Daniel Juarez in an email to NBC4. “The Brown Act requires that city council agendas shall be posted on the ‘local agency’s Internet Web site, if the local agency has one.’”

Of course one could argue that right now, the city doesn’t have a website, so the Brown Act does not apply (and the downed website/we can’t have a meeting thing is pretty convenient for the beleaguered politicians of Hawthorne who would like this to all go away).

And why did this family pet get shot? Because Leon Rosby, who has repeatedly sued the Hawthorn Police Department, was video taping an incident on his street. The police arrested him for obstruction of justice.


9 Responses to "What Leon Rosby’s Murdered Dog Means: The NSA, Free Speech, Citizen Reporters and More"
bluewombat | Wednesday July 10, 2013 08:22 pm 1

This is not exactly germane, but I buy my art supplies at Swain’s. Great store, good selection.

eCAHNomics | Wednesday July 10, 2013 08:26 pm 2

I haven’t been following this. Is there some reason I should have been?

Twain | Wednesday July 10, 2013 09:07 pm 3
In response to eCAHNomics @ 2

I wish I had not seen the video. I will never be able to un-see it. Horrible.

eCAHNomics | Wednesday July 10, 2013 09:33 pm 4
In response to Twain @ 3

Thanks Twain. There’s enough conflict around without watching snuff videos.

karenjj2 | Wednesday July 10, 2013 09:37 pm 5


Lisa Derrick | Wednesday July 10, 2013 11:16 pm 6

I saw 30 seconds of video on news. That was enough. I am disturbed that a man video taping the police was arrested for “obstruction of justice.” I am disturbed that a dog was not properly secured in a car and did what dogs do. I am disturbed the dog was killed. And I am disturbed at the long range effects that mistaken info processing can have.

mzchief | Thursday July 11, 2013 02:53 am 7
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 6

I am also disturbed at what appears to be a standard operating procedure of police to shoot at people and their animal companions first and ask questions later including preemptively killing dogs (e.g. “Police raid wrong house, kill family dog and make children sit with its bloody corpse” Aug. 6, 2012). So, thank you for digging into this and your thoughtful report. Retweeted.

JamesJoyce | Thursday July 11, 2013 03:10 am 8

What is wrong with posting the meeting notice in the Town Hall as Towns and cities have done for decades, to comply with open meeting law requirements?


Shooting dogs and arresting people for videotaping? I’m sure if people have video taped “brownshirts” is Nazi Germany, the “brownshirts” would have beaten the person recording and the smashed the camera.

As far as character assassination, that is what Nazis were all about! Then Nazis would take your property, then kill you…

WTF is wrong with the alleged protectors and servers of the public?

Are they that “fucked” in the head like brownshirts?


ChePasa | Thursday July 11, 2013 06:45 am 9

The Brown Act requires public posting of meeting agendas; that doesn’t mean it can only be posted on a website. There are lots of other places to post agendas, and if the website is down (as happens even without attacks by Anonymous) posting elsewhere, so long as the public has access, meets the requirements of the Brown Act. As the Hawthorne officials well know.

So why did they cancel the meeting?

Likely because they didn’t want to hear the people expressing their outrage (again) over the police arresting a man for no valid reason and then shooting his dog.

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