This is #DijonKizzee, 29 yrs old and shot and killed by LA Sheriffs after being stopped for a bike violation. Cops handcuffed his lifeless body. While police investigations can drag on for months/years, cops have already claimed he ran away, and dropped clothes and a gun. #BLM
— Kristen Clarke (@KristenClarkeJD) September 1, 2020
Video and descriptions of the incident have caused widespread outrage considering Kizzee was killed for alleged bicycle violations.
CBS LA reports Black Lives Matter protesters took to the streets on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to demonstrate against the killing and were joined by Rep. Maxine Waters as well as Kizzee’s aunt. Kizzee's killing happened a little over a week since Jacob Blake was shot in the back by police officers in Wisconsin.
“Despite Black Lives Matter, they are shooting and killing as if to say they’re going to show us that they’re not going to stop,” Waters told CBS LA.
Here’s what we know about the killing of Kizzee:
1. Witnesses Dispute The Police Version Of What Happened
Police said a fight between Kizzee and two officers began after they stopped him on the street Monday at 3:15 p.m. When asked by the Los Angeles Times what bicycle laws Kizzee had violated, Lt. Brandon Dean said he did not know. After the fight, Kizzee ran from police before being shot multiple times. The Sheriff’s Department said they shot him because he dropped a bundle of clothes that had a gun in it.
Officers initially did not say that Kizzee reached for the gun, but on Tuesday they changed their story in a statement to CBSLA, claiming he “made a motion toward the firearm,” prompting the two deputies to open fire.
But witnesses at the scene and video from the incident paint an entirely different picture.
Shooting by police on 109th/Normandie in Los Angeles. Killed with 27 shots. And then they handcuffed him dead. pic.twitter.com/YG20VaqKTI
— lovinglynn (@lovelylynn44) September 1, 2020
People living in the neighborhood saw and took video of Kizzee running away from officers after they stopped him on his bicycle. He tried to run away but the two officers caught up with him before he allegedly punched one officer in the face.
“They say the man punched the deputy, but I never saw that happen,” 52-year-old Alida Trejo told the Los Angeles Times.
Another witness, Latiera Irby, told the newspaper that Kizzee came up to her car and asked if she would drive him away for money but she said no. Seconds later Irby saw the officers shoot Kizzee in the back and continued to shoot even as he laid dead on the ground.
Video shows officers placing handcuffs on Kizzee's dead body. They left his body uncovered on the street for nine hours even as nearby residents asked for him to be covered or taken away.
“They shot four times initially, where you knew the victim was gone, and then there were 11 more shots that persisted. You saw, he (Kizzee) was like ‘Hey man, don’t touch me!’ and then it was like boom, boom, boom…there was no attempt at de-escalation,” witness Ricardo Richmond told CBSLA
2. Protests Have Erupted In L.A.
The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department said the two unnamed deputies who shot Kizzee are no longer in the field and will remain on desk duty until the investigation is finished.
For two days straight, protesters marched from the scene where a Kizzee was fatally shot to a Los Angeles County Sheriff's office, demanding answers. This is the third shooting in the area over the past few months, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"The police kill another Black man, another Black person, we're tired of the injustice, we're tired of the police brutality, we're tired of being looked upon as fourth-class citizens, we're tired of just not being treated equally," protester Raheem Taylor told CBSLA early on Tuesday morning, after the first protest.
3. Witnesses Are Traumatized
A number of witnesses told the Los Angeles Times that they shooting, which was in full view of dozens of people, was traumatizing.
In video shared on Twitter, bystanders can be seen and heard begging the cops not to shoot Kizzee and horrified that they continued to shoot the young man even as he bled to death on the ground.
Others said the fact that police left his body for hours was traumatizing by itself. Even after taking his body, they left bloody gloves and there was a blood stain on the concrete where Kizzee died.
Irby, who refused to drive Kizzee away as he ran from the police, told the Los Angeles Times that she has not been able to sleep since the shooting.
“All I could see is that man on the ground and [them] still shooting him,” she said.
Bobbie Lee, a 51-year-old who lives in the area, said her daughter and others will need help after witnessing the horrifying shooting.
“I think we’re gonna need some damn counseling,” said Lee. Kizzee's uncle, Anthony Johnson, said he spent most of Tuesday morning cleaning Kizzee's blood from the sidewalk.
4. Kizzee’s Family Has Spoken Out
Kizzee’s aunt told news outlets that he was a plumber who came to the Westmont neighborhood to see his friends.
His uncle, Johnson, said Kizzee had come to the area to visit friends from Palmdale last week and that was where he last saw his nephew alive.
“We kind of had a head bump, and I said, ‘I love you,’ and he said, ‘I love you back,’ and I told him to stay safe,” he said.
Kizzee has an 18-year-old brother and other family members told local news outlet KTLA that he was very devoted to his mother, who died recently.
The news outlet reported that Kizzee was well-known as an energetic friend who enjoyed music, cars and go-karts.
“Why us? It’s just us, and we’re tired. We are absolutely tired,” his aunt, Fletcher Fair, said.
Kizzee's family has hired Benjamin Crump to represent them, and Crump has spoken out about the shooting on Twitter.
#DijonKizzee, a 29yo Black man, was fatally shot by @LASDHQ deputies. Cops stopped him while riding his bike for alleged “vehicle code violation.” They say he ran, dropped clothes and handgun. He didn't pick it up, but cops shot him in the back 20+ times then left him for hours. pic.twitter.com/CF1hVihywv
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) September 1, 2020
“We stand with Dijon’s family in demanding justice and transparency into this despicable and tragic killing perpetrated by Los Angeles County officers. When officers shoot first and ask questions later, precious lives are lost and police lose credibility and trust from those they are sworn to protect,” Crump said in a statement to multiple news outlets on Wednesday.
5. Calls For L.A. Sheriff's Deputies To Wear Body Cams Has Increased
The shooting and aftermath highlighted a longstanding complaint from Los Angeles residents that the police force does not equip officers with body cams.
Kizzee was killed just one day ahead of a L.A. County Board of Supervisors meeting where the county will vote on whether to buy hundreds of body cams for officers. Officers will not be required to wear them, according to CBSLA.
Crump noted the discrepancy in another Tweet on Tuesday.
Unlike LAPD, LA County sheriffs deputies are NOT required to wear body cameras, so there's no known footage of what happened. If you witnessed this incident or have a video of it, DM it to my account NOW.
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) September 1, 2020
Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of the L.A. Urban Policy Roundtable, expressed dismay about the lack of bodycams during a protest on Tuesday.
"Why doesn't the L.A. County Sheriff have bodycams?" he said. "All we have to go on with this latest shooting is one thing: their word."