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Deputies fire projectiles into crowd during third night of Dijon Kizzee protests

People use a car for cover Saturday after deputies fired nonlethal projectiles during a protest over Dijon Kizzee's killing.
People use a car for cover Saturday night after Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies fired nonlethal projectiles at a crowd at the South L.A. sheriff’s station during a protest in the wake of Dijon Kizzee’s killing.
(Josie Norris / Los Angeles Times)

A protest in the wake of last week’s fatal shooting of Dijon Kizzee by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies turned chaotic late Monday when deputies fired several nonlethal projectiles into the crowd, according video from the scene and official statements.

The protest outside the South L.A. sheriff’s station, which followed a news conference criticizing the department’s earlier handling of a Black Lives Matter demonstration, marked the third straight night of unrest in response to Kizzee’s death.

Video from OnSceneTV shows protesters running for cover as shots ring out and smoke fills the air. When asked what prompted the deployment of the nonlethal rounds, Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez said Tuesday that “unlawful assembly was declared and dispersal orders were given.”

No protesters or deputies were injured in the clash, although six people were arrested, Navarro-Suarez said.

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Kizzee, 29, was killed Aug. 31 after he was stopped for what sheriff’s officials described as a vehicle code violation while riding his bicycle. The department has not said what the specific violation was.

Video of the encounter shows a physical altercation between Kizzee and deputies, but witnesses and activists have said the shooting was unjustified and the situation could have been handled without deadly force. Attorneys representing Kizzee’s family said he was shot 15 times.

Kizzee’s death is the second fatal shooting involving deputies in one block of the Westmont neighborhood in three months. It also came amid continuing nationwide protests over police killings of Black people. On Saturday, hundreds gathered in front of the South L.A. sheriff’s station to call for the defunding of law enforcement agencies and the removal of L.A. County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey.

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The small neighborhood of Westmont is in the spotlight after two police shootings there this year. But residents want officials bring something to the community they think is missing: a message of hope.

In a tweet Monday evening, the Sheriff’s Department said it supports the community “peacefully” exercising its 1st Amendment rights.

“However, we are concerned there are individuals from outside of the community, and state, wanting to incite riots,” the tweet said. “Those individuals have already committed acts of vandalism, looting & assaults utilizing rocks, pipes & mortars. Everyone’s public safety is our priority. If you are in the area, please be aware of your surroundings so that you are not hurt by those inciting violence.”

At the demonstration Monday night, protesters could be heard chanting, “No justice, no peace,” and, “No cops, no prison, total abolition.”


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