The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department released information regarding the deputy-involved shooting of Dijon Kizzee.
LASD Captain Kent Wegener detailed the South L.A. shooting in accordance to their investigation, saying Kizzee was pulled over for a traffic violation. Kizzee was riding his bicycle on the wrong side of the road and when officers told him to stop, Kizzee got off his bike and fled on foot. When the deputies caught up to Kizzee, he put up his hands before eventually being involved in a closed-quarters struggle that led to punches being thrown at the deputy.
It was then that Kizzee’s pistol fell to the ground and as he reached to pick it up, both deputies fired 19 rounds, hitting him in the torso. Medics later pronounced Kizzee dead at the scene.
Both deputies said they withheld from shooting until they saw the barrel of Kizzee’s gun. In the video footage, Kizzee can be seeing leaning toward the ground before turning his back to the deputies.
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) September 2, 2020
Wegener also disclosed that there were multiple witnesses interviewed and the recordings of those interviews will be included in the full investigation, as well as the autopsy report when it becomes available.
The firearm that was in Kizzee’s possession was a loaded Ruger 9-milometer semi-automatic pistol. Investigators said the serial number on the pistol matched the number shown in a video that Kizzee had in his phone, where he was brandishing the gun, while reciting a rap song. The phone was reviewed by forensics as part of the investigation.
Said video was also shown in the press conference.
The August 31 shooting resulted in daily public demonstrations, led by the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter and the People’s City Council, some of which have led to arrests.
Immediately after the Dijon Kizzee shooting, BLM-LA organizer Melina Abdullah was on-scene, livestreaming with a crowd of protesters, as the scene was blocked off by deputies, with Kizzee’s body present for hours after the shooting.
A GoFundMe was also created for Kizzee to aid the family in funeral services, raising $18,424 as of this writing.
At the start of the Thursday press conference, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said that the Westmont area where the shooting occurred is known as “Death Alley,” as in 2020 there have been 12 homicides reported.
“We’re not out there terrorizing,” Sheriff Villanueva said. “We’re not out there racially profiling. We’re not engaged in systemic racism of any kind. We’re trying to keep people alive.”
Najee Ali, a representative of the Kizzee family spoke at a press conference saying that the family “find it incredible” that the whole community was slandered by being called gang-infested and that it was used as the “reason to stop young black and brown people.”
“On behalf of the family of Dijon Kizzee… we are calling for the resignation of Sheriff Alex Villanueva,” Ali said. “He is blaming a black man for his own murder by the Sheriff’s Department. And they find it incredible that they can blame the victim for his own murder.”
Earlier in the day, the Sheriff’s Department responded to Civilian Oversight Commissions’s motion, also calling for Villanueva’s resignation.
In their response, the department said:
“The fact this motion is even being considered, particularly when two members of our department are recovering from a life-threatening ambush, is morally repugnant and emblematic of the political animosity of the politically-appointed commission.
“It is becoming painfully obvious this commission is acting in retaliation against the sheriff for his efforts in investigating potential criminal conduct from county officials and for challenging the legality of subpoenaing the sheriff himself versus the LASD.”