Sheriff’s deputies and protesters clash again in South L.A. over shooting of Dijon Kizzee
For the fourth straight night, protesters clashed with Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies on Tuesday over the recent killing of a Black man by two deputies.
On Aug. 31, deputies fatally shot Dijon Kizzee following a pursuit the deputies started when they said they saw Kizzee commit an unspecified moving violation on a bicycle. Sheriff’s deputies opened fire after, authorities allege, Kizzee punched one of them in the face, dropped a handgun that was concealed in a bundle of clothes and then “made a motion toward” the weapon.
In the days following the killing, protests erupted in the Westmont neighborhood where Kizzee died and outside the South L.A. sheriff’s outpost where the deputies who killed him are stationed. Deputies on Monday fired so-called less-lethal munitions at protesters after authorities declared an unlawful assembly and ordered the demonstrators to leave. Sheriff Alex Villanueva was at the scene of Monday night’s protest.
On Tuesday, protesters again massed near the South L.A. station — although the Sheriff’s Department this time had blocked off the stretch of Imperial Highway where the station is located. A crowd of about 100 people gathered just east of the station about 7 p.m., near Normandie Avenue, according to Michelle Xai, one of the protesters.
About 8 p.m., sheriff’s authorities used megaphones to announce they were declaring an unlawful assembly at the intersection of Normandie Avenue and Imperial Highway, giving demonstrators five minutes to disperse, Xai said. By then, she said, the crowd had dwindled to 70 to 80 people.
A sheriff’s spokeswoman did not respond Tuesday night to questions, requesting instead that The Times submit questions about the crowd-control tactics in writing.
Protesters strapped on helmets and shields, anticipating a show of force from the Sheriff’s Department, Xai said. She disagreed with a tweet by the Sheriff’s Department that suggested the use of such gear was evidence the crowd was comprised of “individuals from outside of the community, and state, wanting to incite riots.”
“People go out there with shields and helmets because they know the viciousness they’ve been bringing down on us,” Xai said.
Protesters were walking backward, still facing the deputies, she said, when the deputies opened fire with some kind of “less lethal” round. Everyone in the crowd turned to run. Xai described a cacophony of rounds thudding into parked cars and people, authorities shouting orders over a loudspeaker, and a helicopter circling low overhead, its spotlight trained on the crowd and its siren blaring.
“They moved on us very quickly,” she said.
Xai and other demonstrators ran north on Normandie. She didn’t know whether anyone was arrested. Three friends were arrested in a similar demonstration Sunday night and released after posting $500 bond each, she said.
Xai believes the sheriff’s tactics of blocking off public streets and declaring unlawful assemblies are part of a nationwide trend of “shutting down dissent.”
“We have the right to be out there,” Xai said, “and they’re trying to scare people into silence.”
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