Protests have broken out in Los Angeles, California after Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a Black man riding a bicycle.
Crowds of people protested for hours at the scene of the shooting before moving to a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department station. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies say the man dropped a gun during the confrontation in the South Los Angeles neighborhood of Westmont before officers opened fire killing him, LA Times reported.
The shooting took place around 3:15 p.m. PST during a fight between deputies and the man identified as 29-year-old Dijon Kizzee by family members.
The incident happened near West 109th Place and South Budlong Avenue, according to sheriff’s Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez. Deputies initially stopped Kizzee, because he was on a bicycle in violation of vehicle codes, according to Deputy Brandon Dean of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau. However, authorities say that Kizzee then dropped the bicycle and ran after they attempted to contact the man, Dean said. In the 1200 block of West 109th Place, deputies again tried to make contact with Kizzee when he struck a deputy in the face while dropping a handgun in the process which prompted the deputy and his partner to open fire on him.
During the contact, a fight ensued between the suspect and deputies. The suspect produced a handgun and a deputy-involved “hit” shooting occurred. The suspect’s handgun was recovered. The suspect was pronounced deceased at the scene.
— LA County Sheriffs (@LASDHQ) September 1, 2020
The sheriff’s department failed to provide details about the violation.
“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.”
One woman claimed to have witnessed the shooting and told NBC Los Angeles her account.
“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.”
Cell phone video captured the man running from deputies moments before he was fatally shot. Witnesses could be heard in that video yelling out at the deputies involved asking them why they shot him.
Another witness disputes the authorities’ narrative saying that he didn’t have a gun, and it was a cell phone, ABC 7 reported.
“He never had the gun. He had no gun. They said they heard a gun fall. What fell was his cellphone,” said Deja Roquemore, who witnessed the shooting. “They killed that man for nothing. For nothing. He had his hands up with his clothes in his hands, and he was backing up trying to get away from them and they kept antagonizing that man,” said Latiera Irby, who witnessed the shooting.
The deputies were not wearing any body cameras during the confrontation so there are far more questions than answers. Unlike the Los Angeles Police Department, the Sheriff’s Department has yet to equip its officers with body cameras.
Dean added that he did not know how many times Kizzee was shot or where but he stated that reports that he had been hit more than 20 times were inaccurate.
However, Kizzee was struck several times by gunfire as the video shows. He died on the street as deputies moved over his body to check for a pulse. At one point in the video, the witness is even claiming that authorities handcuffed him. “How are you gonna handcuff a dead man?” the witness commentates in the video.
The two officers make no attempt to approach the man to administer CPR until back-up arrives as the footage illustrates.
A group of four officers then move towards the man, with their weapons drawn, before handcuffing him and administering first aid.
The man was pronounced dead at the scene shortly afterward. His body remained in the street for several hours as an investigation was carried out. Besides questioning why he was shot many are wondering why he was left in the street dead for so long an inhumane act to say the least.
A semiautomatic handgun was recovered at the scene.
Many are questioning why the deputies opened fire on Kizzee if as the sheriff’s office has said, the man wasn’t holding a weapon.
Following the shooting, the activist group Black Lives Matter L.A. tweeted a call for “all hands on deck” support for protesters to gather in the area. CNN affiliate KCBS/KCAL estimated as many as 100 demonstrators were at the scene Monday evening, chanting demands for justice.
Los Angeles County Sheriffs killed a Black man…Dijon…on 109th and Budlong and left his body facedown in the dirt.
We need all hands on deck.
Please get here ASAP!
— #BlackLivesMatter-LA (@BLMLA) September 1, 2020
“How many more times do we have to gather out here, mourning the loss of our brothers and sisters,” one protester told KCBS/KCAL.
The District Attorney’s office and Office of the Inspector General are assisting in the investigation of the shooing.