Protesters gathered Tuesday for the second night in a row near the site where a 29-year-old Black man was shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies who stopped him while he was riding a bicycle in a South Los Angeles neighborhood.
Dijon Kizzee was stopped on his bicycle for a vehicle code violation Monday afternoon in the unincorporated Westmont area. During an ensuing confrontation with deputies, he dropped a handgun before he was fatally shot, authorities said.
A few dozen protesters, organized by the Coalition for Community Control Over the Police, gathered at 5 p.m. near the scene of the shooting at West 109th Place and South Budlong Avenue. They marched to the South Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station, at 1310 W. Imperial Highway, about five blocks away.
Deputies in tactical gear stood between protesters and the sheriff’s station.
“They’re even up on the roof,” said Kizzee’s aunt, Fletcher Fair. “This is not a war zone. It’s just a protest.”
The shooting, which occurred about 3:15 p.m. Monday near West 109th Place and South Budlong Avenue, immediately attracted a crowd of people to the scene, beginning a protest that also moved to the sheriff’s department’s South Los Angeles Station and lingered into the early morning hours.
Authorities have not provided details about the code violation that led deputies to stop Kizzee. He dropped the bike and ran as deputies approached, then punched one of them in the face when they caught up to him, the sheriff’s department said.
Our suspect was holding some items of clothing in his hands, punched one of the officers in the face,” Dean said. “Then, dropped the items in his hands. The deputies noticed inside the clothing items that he dropped was a black semi-automatic handgun, at which time a deputy-involved shooting took place.”
At least part of the confrontation was captured on video by witnesses. Video from NewsChopper4 showed what appeared to be a handgun on the ground near yellow police tape.
A woman who asked not to be identified described what she saw and heard.
“He dropped the towel, put his hands in the air,” the woman told NBCLA. “The people were saying, ‘Don’t shoot.’ He didn’t have no gun in his hands because when he dropped the towel he put his hands up.”
On Tuesday, the department released a statement that said he “made a motion toward the firearm, it was at this time a deputy involved shooting occurred.”
Both deputies fired at the man and no deputies were injured, the department confirmed. He died at the scene. The deputies involved had been removed from the field pending further review of the incident, the department announced Tuesday.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump — most recently noted for representing the family of Jacob Blake, who was shot by police in Kenosha,Wisconsin, setting off a renewed round of national protests — was retained by the family of the man who was shot. According to Crump, Kizzee was shot 20 times in the back.
The sheriff’s department has not disclosed the number of times Kizzee was shot.
Crump noted that sheriff’s deputies do not wear body cameras, so he urged anyone with video footage of the confrontation to come forward. Also Tuesday, the LA County Sheriff’s Department approved money to roll out the cameras, beginning in October.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday morning, relatives and activists conceded that Kizzee was carrying a weapon, but insisted he wasn’t wielding it, didn’t reach for it on the ground and was unarmed when he was shot.
“Why us?” his aunt, Fletcher Fair, told reporters. “It’s just us, and we’re tired. We are absolutely tired.”
Sheriff Alex Villanueva, speaking at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting Tuesday morning, did not discuss details of the shooting, but offered his condolences to the man’s relatives.
“I want to extend my condolences to the family of Dijon Kizzee, who succumbed yesterday to a deputy-involved shooting,” he said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, and that includes a member of my own department who is a cousin of the deceased.”
On Monday night, demonstrators gathered at the scene of the shooting, then moved to the sheriff’s station around midnight. Authorities declared an unlawful assembly shortly after midnight as the crowd chanted derogatory, anti- law enforcement slogans, as a line of deputies stood watch in front of the building.
Protesters vandalized and sprayed graffiti on the sheriff’s sign outside the building before leaving the area around 1 a.m. One person was arrested on suspicion of failure to disperse after authorities ordered the crowd to clear the area.
Source: NBC Los Angeles