Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department MPs shot and killed Dijon Kizzee in Westmont on Monday afternoon. The incident sparked outrage among residents, who were alarmed by officers' use of deadly force – and raised questions about what actually happened.
The Sheriff's Department report of the events said local MPs saw Kizzee on his bike and believed he was violating the vehicle codes (a department spokesman was unable to identify which vehicle codes were given).
The department says MPs tried to engage Kizzee, but he got off his bike and ran away. MPs say they followed him and when they caught up with him, Kizzee hit one of the officers. In their version of events, he then dropped a jacket, and as he did so, what they believed was a weapon fell to the ground. As he allegedly approached the item, they opened fire, fired 15 to 20 rounds, and hit him an unspecified number of times. LASD claims a gun was recovered from the scene.
Some points in the LASD report were contested by eyewitnesses, many of whom came out of their homes in the middle of their lunch break and watched the argument.
"They say the man hit the deputy, but I never saw it," Alida Trejo, a neighbor who watched the incident, told the Los Angeles Times.
Another neighbor, Latiera Irby, told the Times that she saw MPs shoot Kizzee while he was already on the ground. "He had nothing in his hands," she recalled.
"You shot four times initially when you knew the victim was missing, and then there were eleven more shots," witness Richard Richmond told CBS Los Angeles. "You saw (sketch) was like," Hey man, don't touch me! "And then it was like a boom, a boom, a boom … there was no attempt at de-escalation."
Neither proxy reports nor testimony suggest that Kizzee aimed a gun at the officers.
Several surveillance cameras have captured parts of the incident, although no video provides a clear view of the entire story. Some of the footage clearly shows a physical argument between the deputies and Kizzee. In the clip, he seems to be trying to run away from them, but falls. As soon as he is on the ground, both MPs are seen shooting.
Kizzee's family is represented by Attorney Ben Crump, the same attorney who represents the Kenosha, Wisconsin family of police victim Jacob Blake.
Unlike the LAPD, LA County's sheriff MPs are NOT required to wear body cameras, so no footage is known of what happened. If you witnessed this incident or have a video of it, Submit it to my account NOW.
– Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) September 1, 2020
On Wednesday, Congressman Maxine Waters, who represents the area where the incident occurred, called on the California attorney general to open a formal investigation into the Kizzee killing and what she described as a "pattern of abuse" by the county sheriff's department Initiate Los Angeles.
"Whatever the sheriff's department announces or reveals in the coming days as to why Dijon Kizzee was shot dead in Westmont, we know a black man who stopped while riding a bike shouldn't be dead today," Waters said in a statement to the press. "I stand with the community to condemn inexplicable rogue sheriffs and police officers who continue to hunt and murder unarmed black people in our communities."
The two MPs who shot Kizzee were not publicly named by the LASD, but the department says they have been removed from the field pending investigation.
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