By Sarah Moon and Steve Almasy | CNN
Dijon Kizzee, the 29-year-old Black man who was fatally shot by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies two days ago, was running away from deputies when he was killed, attorneys for Kizzee’s family alleged Wednesday.
“Dijon Kizzee did not deserve to be executed like this in cold blood as he was running away,” attorney Benjamin Crump said during a virtual news conference.”He was riding a bicycle while Black.”
CNN reached out to the sheriff’s department for comment on the allegation that Kizzee was running when he was shot.
“The investigation is ongoing and there is no additional information available at this time,” a spokesman replied.
Crump, who was joined in the news conference by Kizzee’s aunt Fletcher Fair and co-counsels Dale Galipo and Carl Douglas, referred to other recent high-profile police shooting incidents, including George Floyd, Jacob Blake, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor.
“This legalized genocide of colored people has to stop,” Crump said, noting that African Americans have been dealing with systemic racism and oppression for over 400 years.
“This is reality TV that nobody wants to see anymore,” Crump said. “It was enough when we watched George Floyd narrate the documentary of his own murder as he was tortured to death.”
In a briefing on Wednesday, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said law enforcement officers don’t have a choice when responding to conflicts that might quickly escalate and lead to the use of deadly force.
“Sometimes that entire process (of trying to detain an armed suspect) is going to unfold in the matter of 2 or 3 seconds,” Villanueva said. “So there’s no deliberate choice to playing judge, jury, and executioner.”
“It’s a cute little soundbite people like to say when they don’t like the result of something, but reality is far more complicated than that.”
Deputies chased Kizzee after they tried to stop him on his bike
The sheriff’s department said that at about 3:15 p.m. PT on Monday, two deputies tried to stop Kizzee, who was riding a bicycle for traffic violations When they approached him, he got off the bicycle and ran.
Sheriff’s Lt. Brandon Dean said deputies caught up to the suspect about a block away, and when they approached him, the man punched one of the deputies in the face and dropped some clothing he had been carrying.
It was at that point deputies saw a pistol in the dropped items and that’s when both deputies opened fire, shooting the man several times, Dean said.
Kizzee was hit several times, Dean said. The deputies were not wearing body cameras
Police said an autopsy has been scheduled for Tuesday.
Lawyer: Law enforcement acts as ‘gangs’
Attorney Carl Douglas, who mentioned he was raised a few blocks away from where the shooting occurred, said there is no way this shooting can be justified.
Douglas referred to sheriff’s deputies as “gangs” that have been “infesting” the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
“We have to stop the gangs that are patrolling our neighborhood,” Douglas said.
Douglas also explained that the alleged vehicle violation Kizzee was stopped for can be as minor as riding a bicycle on the sidewalk or against traffic on the street.
“You never see anybody in Beverly Hills or Santa Monica stopped for a code violation while riding a bicycle,” Douglas said.
He said that the code violation is being used as a pretext by law enforcement to justify the interaction that lead to a deadly shooting.
‘He was a good boy,’ aunt says
Kizzee’s aunt Fletcher Fair said she is heartbroken by the incident.
“All I want is justice for my nephew Dijon,” Fair said. “He was a good boy.”
Kizzee was born and raised in Los Angeles until he moved to Lancaster, according to Fair. He took care of his sick mother before she passed away in 2011.
At a news conference on Tuesday, the family called for Sheriff Villanueva to release names of the deputies, and called for their “arrest and criminal prosecution.”
The District Attorney’s Office and Office of the Inspector General are assisting in the investigation.
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