The family of a 29-year-old Black man fatally shot by deputies during a traffic stop over a bicycle code violation on Monday has demanded accountability and justice amid a fresh wave of protests.
Family members say Dijon Kizzee was fatally shot by Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department deputies after they attempted to stop him while he was riding a bicycle in violation of vehicle codes. Almost immediately after the incident, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets in outrage, chanting for justice as they marched to the South L.A. Sheriff’s Station on Imperial Highway.
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said that when the deputies tried to stop the man, he dropped the bike and ran—prompting a foot pursuit and a physical altercation. During the scuffle, the man allegedly dropped a bunch of clothes that were in his hand. Deputies said they spotted a black handgun and, at the same time, opened fire, hitting him several times.
“Our suspect was holding some items of clothing in his hands, punched one of the officers in the face and then dropped the items in his hands,” Sheriff’s Lt. Brandon Dean said Monday evening. “The deputies noticed that inside the clothing items that he dropped was a black semiautomatic handgun, at which time a deputy-involved shooting occurred.”
It was not immediately clear what vehicle code Kizzee had violated while riding his bike.
A doorbell video released by ABC 7 that reportedly came from residents who witnessed the shooting appears to capture at least 15 gunshots.
This is #DijonKizzee, 29 yrs old and shot and killed by LA Sheriffs after being stopped for a bike violation. Cops handcuffed his lifeless body. While police investigations can drag on for months/years, cops have already claimed he ran away, and dropped clothes and a gun. #BLM pic.twitter.com/pM6mQfWLeQ
— Kristen Clarke (@KristenClarkeJD) September 1, 2020
Video of the incident shows a man running from deputies with what appeared to be a ball of clothing in his hands. The video then jumps to two deputies on the sidewalk with their guns drawn, while a man is on the ground. Another portion of a witness video, posted by Fox 11, shows the man's body on the ground behind a pickup truck as angry bystanders yell at deputies. At one point in the video, other deputies arrive at the scene and at least one appears to be leaning over the man and putting handcuffs on him.
“How you gonna handcuff a dead man?” somebody is heard yelling on the video, though it is not immediately clear if the man is deceased.
Authorities said the man was pronounced dead at the scene and a handgun was recovered.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Kizzee’s relatives and community activists confirmed the 29-year-old was carrying weapon—but said he wasn’t wielding it at the deputies, nor did he reach for it from the ground when he was shot. They said he was therefore unarmed when he was killed.
Anthony Johnson, the 29-year-old’s uncle, told reporters on Tuesday that residents had to clean his nephew’s blood off the sidewalk.
“They shot him. They killed him. The least they could have done was clean up after themselves,” Johnson said.
Ahmira Irene Roberson, a 22-year-old neighbor, told The Daily Beast that the Monday afternoon incident was “extremely traumatic” for a community that is used to heavy police presence.
“Because of the neighborhood it’s common for helicopters to hover for maybe an hour, but the constant hovering was scary. People were out in their yards or on their porches talking about what happened,” she said. “Some neighbors were crying, others were just upset.”
She said she believes Monday’s incident “will make things a lot worse.”
#DijonKizzee, a 29yo Black man, was fatally shot by @LASDHQ deputies. Cops stopped him while riding his bike for alleged “vehicle code violation.” They say he ran, dropped clothes and handgun. He didn't pick it up, but cops shot him in the back 20+ times then left him for hours. pic.twitter.com/CF1hVihywv
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) September 1, 2020
Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva offered his condolences to Kizzee’s family and revealed that the 29-year-old was related to a department employee.
“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,” Villanueva said while speaking at a Board of Supervisors’ meeting on Tuesday.
The incident comes as intense protests continue in Kenosha, Wisconsin, over the shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake, who was shot in the back seven times at close range on August 23 as he tried to get into a van with his kids.
According to CBS-Los Angeles, while there were some reports of vandalism during the overnight march in Los Angeles, there were no arrests. In videos of the protest posted on social media, hundreds of residents are seen chanting “no justice, no peace” and “say his name” in the neighborhood where the Kizzee was shot before they were met by deputies in riot gear. After several hours, the crowd moved to the South L.A. Sheriff’s Station.
“The police kill another Black man, another Black person, we’re tired of the injustice, we’re tired of the police brutality, we’re tired of being looked upon as fourth-class citizens, we’re tired of just not being treated equally,” Raheem Taylor, a protester, told CBS-Los Angeles.
The family has requested the crowd to move to the sheriff’s station, which they are doing now pic.twitter.com/ZjOnxlp9x1
— Samuel Braslow (@SamBraslow) September 1, 2020
Melina Abdullah, co-founder of the L.A. chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement, told the crowd: “They stole his life, they’re going to assassinate his character, and they’re going to try to criminalize this community.”
The Sheriff’s Department confirmed to The Daily Beast that multiple independent investigations were underway in accordance with protocol for deputy-involved shootings.
Unlike the Los Angeles Police Department, sheriff’s deputies are not required to wear body-worn cameras. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved the $25 million funding for body-cameras, but only at five sheriff’s stations. The five stations don’t include the station involved in Monday’s incident.
“We still have to conduct our interviews of the investigating officers to see exactly what happened and transpired during the deputy-involved-shooting,” Dean said during a Monday press conference. “But if this individual was reaching for a semi-automatic handgun, I would suggest that—you know—that’s probably why deadly force was important.
Kizzee did not have any children and is survived by his younger brother, who just graduated from high school, family members said.