Art supply store mistakenly harassed by hundreds after cops shoot dog dead

By Arturo Garcia
Wednesday, July 3, 2013 11:26 EDT
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Lori Wiest, owner of Swain's Art Supplies in California [KCBS-TV]
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A California woman blamed overzealous bloggers for mistakenly putting her at the center of the far-ranging outrage concerning a police encounter that ended with officers shooting and killing a man’s dog.

“One asked me if I was HIV positive,” Lori Wiest told the Daily Breeze of the deluge of angry phone calls and emails her business has received. “One asked if I was a member of the Illuminati. They are asking crazy things. It’s just been hell.”

Wiest told the newspaper the phone number and address for Wiest’s business, Swain’s Art Supplies in Glendale, California, were distributed online by multiple sites calling for the resignation of Hawthorne Police Chief Robert Fager, in the mistaken belief that they actually belonged to Hawthorne police spokesperson Lt. Scott Swain.

“It spread like wildfire,” Wiest told KCBS-TV of the onslaught. “The fact that people believe what they read and then they posted our phone number and address on there.”

The information was allegedly posted in response to one of Fager’s officers shooting and killing a rottweiler belonging to 52-year-old Leon Rosby, who police accused of obstructing them during a SWAT standoff on June 30. Swain was not involved in the encounter, but he told the Breeze he had to buy a new cell phone after also being harassed.

According to KCBS, authorities said on Tuesday they were launching multiple investigations into their encounter with Rosby, whose dog allegedly lunged at officers while they were putting him in handcuffs, which police said precipitated the fatal shooting.

Watch KCBS’ report on the barrage of angry callers against Wiest’s store, aired Tuesday, below.

Arturo Garcia
Arturo Garcia
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
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