Black man was running from Los Angeles deputies when he was shot, lawyers say

By Sarah Moon and Steve Almasy | CNN

Dijon Kizzee, the 29-year-old black man who was fatally shot and killed two days ago by Los Angeles County Sheriff's MPs, ran away from MPs when he was killed, Kizzee's family lawyers alleged on Wednesday.

"Dijon Kizzee did not deserve to be executed in cold blood when he ran away," said lawyer Benjamin Crump during a virtual press conference. "He rode a bike while Black."

CNN reached out to the Sheriff's Department to comment on the claim that Kizzee was walking when he was shot.

"The investigation is ongoing and no additional information is currently available," replied a spokesman.

Crump, in which Kizzee's Aunt Fletcher Fair and co-advisors Dale Galipo and Carl Douglas attended, cited other high profile police shooting events including George Floyd, Jacob Blake, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.

"This legalized genocide of people of color needs to stop," said Crump, noting that African Americans have been dealing with systemic racism and oppression for over 400 years.

"This is reality TV that nobody wants to watch anymore," said Crump. "It was enough when we saw George Floyd tell the documentary about his own murder when he was tortured to death."

In a briefing Wednesday, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said law enforcement officers have no choice when responding to conflicts that could escalate quickly and lead to the use of deadly force.

"Sometimes the whole process (trying to arrest an armed suspect) will unfold within 2 or 3 seconds," said Villanueva. "So there is no conscious choice to play judge, jury and executioner."

"It's a cute little soundbite that people like to say when they don't like the result of something, but the reality is far more complicated."

MPs followed Kizzee after trying to stop him on his bike

The sheriff's department said that around 3:15 p.m. PT Monday, two MPs tried to stop Kizzee, who was riding a bicycle for traffic violations. As they approached him, he got off his bike and ran.

Sheriffs Lt. Brandon Dean said MPs caught up with the suspect about a block away and as they approached him the man slapped one of the MPs in the face and dropped some of the clothes he had been wearing.

At that point, MPs saw a gun in the items dropped, and then both MPs opened fire and shot the man multiple times, Dean said.

Kizzee was hit multiple times, Dean said. The MPs did not wear body cameras

Police said an autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday.

Lawyer: The law enforcement acts as "gangs".

Attorney Carl Douglas, who mentioned that he grew up a few blocks from the location of the shooting, said there was no way that the shooting could be justified.

Douglas referred to the sheriff deputies as "gangs" who "infested" the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

"We have to stop the gangs patrolling our neighborhood," said Douglas.

Douglas also stated that the alleged vehicle injury for which Kizzee was stopped can be as minor as riding a bike on the sidewalk or against traffic on the street.

"You never see anyone in Beverly Hills or Santa Monica who stopped because of a code violation while riding a bike," said Douglas.

He said the code violation is being used by law enforcement as an excuse to justify the interaction that results in a fatal shooting.

"He was a good boy," says aunt

Kizzee's aunt Fletcher Fair said she was broken from the incident.

"All I want is justice for my nephew Dijon," said Fair. "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 press conference on Tuesday, the family urged Sheriff Villanueva to publish the names of MPs and called for their "arrest and prosecution".

The public prosecutor's office and the inspector general's office support the investigation.

The CNN wire
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