South LA

Protest Follows Shooting Death of Black Man Who Was Stopped by Deputies While Riding a Bicycle

People protested for hours at the scene of the shooting before moving to a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department station.

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More than 100 protesters gathered for hours Monday night in response to the shooting death of a Black man by Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies who say he dropped a gun during the confrontation in the South Los Angeles neighborhood of Westmont.

The shooting occurred at about 3:15 p.m. during a fight between deputies and the man near West 109th Place and South Budlong Avenue, according to sheriff's Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez. Deputies initially stopped the man, identified by family members as 29-year-old Dijon Kizzee, because he was on a bicycle in violation of vehicle codes, according Deputy Brandon Dean of the sheriff's Homicide Bureau.

The sheriff's department did not provide details about the violation.

Kizzee dropped the bike and ran, then punched one of the deputies in the face when they caught up with him, according to the sheriff's department.

Witnesses of the shooting were clearly distraught. Kim Tobin reported on NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020.

"Our suspect was holding some items of clothing in his hands, punched one of the officers in the face," Dean said. "Then, dropped the items in his hands. The deputies noticed inside the clothing items that he dropped was a black semi-automatic handgun, at which time a deputy-involved shooting took place."

At least part of the confrontation was captured on video by witnesses. Video from NewsChopper4 showed what appeared to be a handgun on the ground near yellow police tape.

A woman who asked not to be identified described what she saw and heard. 

“He dropped the towel, put his hands in the air,” the woman told NBCLA. “The people were saying, ‘Don’t shoot.’ He didn’t have no gun in his hands because when he dropped the towel he put his hands up.”

On Tuesday, the department released a statement that said he "made a motion toward the firearm, it was at this time a deputy involved shooting occurred."

The department employing the deputies involved in deadly shootings is actually handling the shooting investigations internally. Eric Leonard explains on NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020.

Both deputies fired at the man and no deputies were injured, the department confirmed. He died at the scene. The deputies involved had been removed from the field pending further review of the incident, the department announced Tuesday.

"Right now, I'm sad, and I'm mad at the same time," said Kizee's aunt, Fletcher Fair, at a Tuesday morning news conference. "Someone riding a bike shouldn't be shot.

"He should be as free as anybody else. My nephew was sweet. He loved his mom and his little brother."

The deputies were not wearing body cameras, so deputies were looking for security and cell phone footage to aid the department's investigation. In June, a report released by the Los Angeles County Office of Inspector General said the LA County Sheriff’s Department would roll out body-worn cameras at the end of the third quarter of 2020. 

"I just feel so hurt inside," resident Briana Davis said. "Because it happens so often."

Protesters gathered for hours Monday evening at the scene of the shooting. Some then moved to the sheriff's station on Imperial Highway, where signs outside the building was spray painted and vandalized.

One man was arrested on suspicion of failure to disperse.

"It's unfortunate," said resident Stephen Guttierez. "I'm tired of this going on."

NBC Southern California/City News Service
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