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Attorneys for Dijon Kizzee’s family say he was shot at 15 times as he ran away

Residents face off with L.A. County sheriff's deputies hours after the killing of Dijon Kizzee in South L.A.
Residents face off with L.A. County sheriff’s deputies hours after the killing of Dijon Kizzee in South L.A.
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

Attorneys representing the family of Dijon Kizzee said Wednesday that he was shot at 15 times by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies in Westmont as he ran away during a stop for bicycle code violations.

“Dijon Kizzee did not deserve to be executed like this in cold blood, as he was running away,” said Ben Crump, a prominent national civil rights attorney who also represents the family of George Floyd, who was killed by police in Minneapolis, and Jacob Blake, who was paralyzed after getting shot multiple times by police in Kenosha, Wis.

The family’s attorneys said that law enforcement officers will often use bicycle code violations as a pretext to justify a stop when a shooting or other use of force has occurred.

“That could be something as benign as riding his bicycle on the sidewalk or against traffic,” said attorney Carl Douglas. “You never see anyone in the Westside of Los Angeles stopped for a code violation. You never see anybody in Beverly Hills or Santa Monica stopped for a code violation.”

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Attorney Dale Galipo said Kizzee was shot in the back — while visibly unarmed and moving away — without any commands or verbal warning.

“Another reckless, unnecessary shooting of a person of color,” he said. “One has to wonder: How long is this gonna go on? And why is it continuing to go on, day after day, week after week? How many families are watching right now concerned that their children, their loved ones are gonna be the next victims?”

Coroner’s officials determined that Kizzee died of gunshot wounds. The full autopsy report will show how many times he was struck and where on his body.

Kizzee’s death is the second fatal shooting involving deputies in three months within a block in the Westmont neighborhood. Relatives and activists have demanded that those involved be arrested and prosecuted. The Sheriff’s Department said both deputies have been removed from the field pending review of the incident. Their names have not been released.

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The Sheriff’s Department said the encounter Monday afternoon began when two deputies from the South Los Angeles station spotted a man, later identified by coroner’s officials as Kizzee, riding a bicycle in violation of vehicle codes. Lt. Brandon Dean said he didn’t know which codes were allegedly violated.

Deputies attempted to contact Kizzee, but he dropped the bicycle and ran, and deputies gave chase, Dean said. Deputies again tried to make contact in the 1200 block of West 109th Place, and Dean said Kizzee punched one of them in the face.

Kizzee then dropped a jacket he had been carrying, and a black handgun fell to the ground, officials said. The Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday evening that Kizzee “made a motion toward” the gun, and the deputies opened fire, killing him.

A grainy video of the incident obtained by The Times shows a physical altercation between Kizzee and the deputies before Kizzee tries to get away and falls to the ground. A wall and fencing obscures the full scene, including where Kizzee’s jacket falls.

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Another video reviewed by The Times showed Kizzee walking away from deputies moments earlier. That same video then cuts to deputies with guns drawn over his body.

A third video, from the front door camera at one resident’s home, recorded sounds of 15 gunshots over a 10-second period but did not show the actual shooting.

Dean said he did not know how many times Kizzee was shot. Sheriff’s officials said a handgun was recovered at the scene.


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