LOS ANGELES, CA- The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is reporting that two deputies who fatally shot a man on Aug. 31 told investigators that they used deadly physical force when the man picked up a handgun that he’d dropped during a struggle with one of them.
Video evidence just released appears to support that version of events.
The man, Dijon Kizzee, 29, was shot and killed after deputies had stopped him for riding a bicycle in the wrong direction. Kizzee was carrying a piece of clothing that unbeknownst to deputies had a handgun wrapped inside, MyNorthwest reported.
Deputies said that Kizzee had dumped the bike and ran off. Area residents in the Westmont neighborhood assisted deputies in locating him, according to Capt. Kent Wegener, who is the head of the agency’s homicide bureau.
Investigators obtained video which showed one of the deputies run up to Kizzee as he walked along a sidewalk.
Sheriff’s Dept. alleges Dijon Kizzee picked up gun before being shot 19 times by deputies https://t.co/Gnoni2QG4B
— KTLA 5 Morning News (@KTLAMorningNews) September 18, 2020
The two men engaged in a struggle, during which time the gun fell out. The sheriff’s office said that Kizzee picked up the gun, and the video seems to confirm he bent over at one point, however there is a wall that blocks a full view, so if he did reach for a weapon, it cannot be seen.
Investigators said that the two deputies fired 19 times within a few seconds, with Kizzee being struck multiple times in the chest, arms, and once in the back, according to Wegener. He said that the full autopsy had not as yet been completed.
The two deputies—a trainee and his field supervisor—were interviewed after which time the additional information was released; the sheriff’s office has not as yet released the identities of the deputies, likely out of concern for their safety given the current climate in the country.
The shooting triggered some mostly peaceful protests, and Kizzee’s family has retained known ambulance chasing civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who also hitched his wagon to the families of George Floyd and Jacob Blake; Floyd of course died in Minneapolis police custody, while Blake, who was subject to an arrest warrant for sexual assault, was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin when he allegedly pulled a knife on arresting officers.
MyNorthwest attempted to reach out to Crump for comment however were unsuccessful. He did however previously take time out from television appearances to call Kizzee’s shooting a “despicable and tragic killing.”
“When officers shoot first and ask questions later, precious lives are lost and police lose credibility from those they are sworn to protect,” Crump said.
Both Wegener, as well as Sheriff Alex Villanueva said that the deputies were conducting proactive policing in an area the sheriff described as a “war zone,” that being South Los Angeles.
Villanueva said that since January, there have been 12 homicides and 163 assaults with a firearm within a one-mile radios of where Kizzee was killed.
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Kizzee came to the attention of deputies when he made a U-turn in the middle of a road, just in front of the deputies’ vehicle. Villanueva defended the encounter as justified and noted that Kizzee was in possession of a semi-automatic handgun with 15 rounds of ammunition.
The sheriff also noted that the handgun was in fact stolen in Las Vegas in 2017 and played a video of Kizzee taken a few days before the incident in which he was carrying the gun and even displayed its serial number.
In addition, Kizzee was subject of a restraining order which prohibited his possessing a gun. He has also had convictions for narcotics and firearms violations, Capt. Wegener said. He also had a pending case in Antelope Valley, located north of Los Angeles in which he was charged with assaulting deputies and bringing drugs into jail.
This @LASDHQ presser about Dijon Kizzee is quite informative – he had a stolen Ruger w/15 rounds (not legal in CA), videos on his phone showing him with that gun (serial # visible), had active restraining order and is a convicted felon so prohibited from possessing a gun
— Jennifer Van Laar (@jenvanlaar) September 17, 2020
Kizzee’s family however described him as a good boy.
“You guys take care of dogs. You don’t take care of us,” Kizzee’s aunt, Fletcher Fair said speaking of the Sheriff’s Department. “HE was a sweet and loving young man. He had his whole life ahead of him, and it was cut short by rogue sheriffs,” WSFA reported her as saying.
Kizzee’s uncle said they were like brothers, having grown up together, and he said that he had always warned Kizzee that as a black man, he needed to be careful.
“You have a target on your back, just by being you,” Anthony Johnson said he told Kizzee only a few weeks ago. “He was like, ‘Yeah, al right, uncle,’ like he always says.”
A neighborhood resident, Latiera Irby, 29, told the Los Angeles Times that she had stopped by her mother’s house when Kizzee ran up to her car and said, “They’re coming to get me; they’re coming to bet me.”
She said that Kizzee had offered her money to drive him away, but since she did not know him, she refused.
Irby said she saw Kizzee struggling with a deputy a few minutes later, who then she said backed away and shot him.
Doorbell video in the area shows the moment when the incident occurred:
She said the same deputy then fired another shot at Kizzee after he fell to the ground and added that “he had nothing in his hands,” speaking of Kizzee.
Doorbell videos in the area show the moment the incident happened:
Of course, what would a police shooting be without an ignorant elected official weighing in, most likely a Democrat. Well, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) did not disappoint, according to ABC-7 in Los Angeles.
“These are the families I represent, this another killing of a young Black man. It keeps going on in this country. We have to be here, we have to stand up,” Waters screeched. This was of course before any type of investigation had been completed.
WSFA said that the LA County Sheriff’s Department, which is the largest in the country, does not currently have body cameras, however that is supposed to change soon. Earlier this month, the county’s Board of Supervisors approved funding. The first deputies are scheduled to receive the body cameras next month.
The Sheriff’s Department gave an update on the shooting in which video of the incident from various cameras in the area was captured.
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