Three Hawthorne, Calif. police officers have been taken off patrol duty after the department received a deluge of threats from outraged Americans who watched a video of at least one officer shoot and kill a Rottweiler belonging to a man whom they were arresting – for videotaping them – last week.
Another spectator’s video of the shooting went viral, amassing nearly 900,000 views on Youtube (so far), and the officers involved in the shooting began receiving death threats and angry emails, phone calls and Facebook postings.
Department spokesperson Lt. Scott Swain said the decision to take the cops off the street wasn’t meant as a disciplinary measure – rather, he said, it’s for the officers’ own safety.
“There’s been death threats,” Swain told Daily Breeze. “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.”
The department’s website was even hit with a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack credited to Anonymous, the computer hacking activist collective, which had threatened exactly such an action after calling the cops’ behavior “unacceptable.”
Read more about the shooting, and watch the (upsetting) video in its entirety, here.