What to Know
- Dijon Kizzee, 29, was shot Aug. 31 by two sheriff's deputies in the unincorporated community of Westmont, near South Los Angeles.
- He was initially stopped him for biking on the wrong side of East 110th Street.
- The sheriff's department contends that Kizzee had dropped a gun during the confrontation with deputies, then picked it up during the confrontation and raised it toward deputies.
Attorneys for the family of a 29-year-old Black man who was fatally shot by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies in August after they stopped him for bicycling on the wrong side of a street said they are filing a claim against Los Angeles County.
The lawyers for the family of Dijon Kizzee, including national civil rights attorney Ben Crump, are seeking $35 million. The figure includes $25 million for severe and substantial damages incurred by Kizzee’s father, Edwin Kizzee, and $10 million for economic and injury costs to his estate “stemming from the intentional and/or negligent infliction of harm on Mr. Kizzee until the moment that he took his last breath,'' according to the filing provided by attorneys.
The attorneys conducted a news conference for Thursday afternoon.
"This is a virus that is plaguing our communities,'' national civil rights attorney Ben Crump said. "We have to find a vaccine for this virus. Other than that, it will be just as prolific in 2021 as it was in 2020. So that's why we filed this $35 million claim, to send a message from the mountaintop that we won't continue to let the people who we pay taxes to continue to kill our children.''
The claim alleges the county failed to properly train the deputies involved, and that Kizzee “did nothing to justify this use of serious and unreasonable force against him,'' among other allegations.
A claim is a legally required precursor to a lawsuit against a government.
Kizzee was shot Aug. 31 by two sheriff's deputies in the unincorporated community of Westmont, near South Los Angeles, where they initially stopped him for biking on the wrong side of East 110th Street. Deputies said Kizzee refused to stop and, abandoning his bike, fled while carrying a gun wrapped inside a piece of clothing. He was confronted by the deputies shortly after on 109th Place, where one tried to detain him, the sheriff's department has said.
The department contends that Kizzee had dropped a gun during the confrontation with deputies, then picked it up during the physical confrontation and raised it toward them, prompting them to open fire at him 19 times.
Kizzee's attorneys denounced the department's version of events and insists that Kizzee was shot with his hands in the air, then was shot repeatedly while he was on the ground.
In September, attorney Carl Douglas said an independent autopsy determined Kizzee was shot 15 times, and that he did not die instantly, but was “writhing on the ground in pain when officers opened up on him.''
The shooting of Kizzee prompted a series of protests outside the South Los Angeles Sheriff's Station.