LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Attorneys for the family of Dijon Kizzee again disputed the sheriff’s department’s version of events that led to the 29-year-old’s killing, saying that an independent autopsy shows he was shot repeatedly while “writhing on the ground in pain.”
At a news conference in Ladera Heights, the attorneys — including national civil rights lawyer Ben Crump — dismissed the sheriff’s version of the events. They said that Kizzee was shot with his hands in the air, then was shot repeatedly while he was on the ground.
“He tried to surrender to them. He put his hands in the air,” Crump said. “He put his hands in the air, dropped the bag, and they continued to shoot him, even though he posed no threat.”
Kizzee, 29, was fatally shot Aug. 31 during a confrontation with the two deputies in South Los Angeles after he was allegedly stopped for riding a bicycle on the wrong side of East 110th Street.
Sheriff Alex Villaneuva released a series of videos last week that showed various portions of the confrontation between Kizzee and the two deputies, including footage of the shooting itself.
Carl Douglas, another attorney for Kizzee’s family, said an independent autopsy conducted for the family determined that Kizzee was shot 15 times and “seven times with his profile of the back pointing toward deputies.”
“Some of those shots are elongated because Mr. Kizzee was on the ground when those grazing wounds were inflicted,” Douglas said.
“He did not die instantly,” Douglas added. “He was writhing on the ground in pain when officers opened up on him. You can tell by the audio of the shooting that there were three or four shots and then a pause, and 15 additional shots followed after that. Witnesses confirmed that there was no effort at de-escalation. Ask Villanueva about that. Witnesses confirmed there were no warnings ever given. Ask Villanueva about that. This sideshow that he put forward last week was simply an effort to save his embattled skin.”
Crump compared the killing of Dijon Kizzee to other violent encounters between Black men and police across the country.
“Look at these videos,” he said. “Just look at them, and you will see that these Black men are just trying to get away from the police.”
“While America is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, we in Black America are dealing with the 1619 pandemic,” he said. “That represents the year when the first enslaved Africans were brought to America, and from that year to this one, for 401 years, we have been dealing with systematic racism and oppression that has us bear witness to them killing us outside the courtroom and inside the courtroom, on stuff as benign as riding a bicycle while Black… I’ve come here today to proclaim to you all in Los Angeles,
California, that you all are not immune to the 1619 pandemic, and exhibit one…is the execution of Dijon Kizzee.”
Last week, the sheriff’s department alleged that Kizzee was carrying a loaded handgun when he was stopped by the deputies. And though Kizzee dropped the firearm during a physical altercation with the deputies, he picked it up from the ground and pointed it toward the deputies — leading to the fatal shooting, according to Capt. Kent Wegener.
“At one point, Kizzee’s pistol drops to the ground, he bends over, reaches, picks up the gun and is shot while he stands with the gun in hand,” Wegener said.
According to Wegener, one of the deputies did not recognize the object as a gun until “it came up and he saw the barrel pointing at him.”
Wegener said the deputies fired a total of 19 shots, striking Kizzee in the chest, arms, back and head. An autopsy report has not yet been finalized due to a pending toxicology report, though Wegener said his cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds.
Deputies recovered a 9mm semiautomatic handgun, loaded with 15 rounds, from the scene, according to Wegener who said the fun was reported stolen during a Las Vegas residential burglary in February 2017.
The fatal shooting has prompted a series of demonstrations outside of the South Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station, leading to dozens of arrests between demonstrators and deputies and accusations of excessive force.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)