Dijon Kizzee shooting by Los Angeles deputies was 'execution,' lawyer says

The video is grainy and a fence blocks a full view of what led to the shooting, but Kizzee appears to be trying to run away and falls to the ground. At this point, officials shot him several times. In a statement, the sheriff's office said a firearm fell to the floor in the brawl but failed to indicate that Kizzee was holding it as a weapon. The fence in the video obscures what was on the ground when the officers opened fire.

Kizzee's relatives and legal representatives, as well as dozen of protesters who flocked to the streets of Los Angeles this week, say his death was another example of the excessive use of police against blacks.

Kizzee family lawyer Carl Douglas called the incident "an outrageous execution" and said Kizzee was shot 15 times in the back even after he was on the ground and posed no threat.

Douglas condemned what he called the sheriff's failure to make the changes necessary to prevent wrongdoing and the excessive use of force. "The county has never rid the department of its gang culture," he said in an interview with the Washington Post. "It's a shame the county sheriff's department has a culture of suspicion, racism and fear." Douglas said he hoped Kizzee's death would spark "a clear investigation" into the department's wrongdoing.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department declined multiple requests for comment on the allegations of misconduct and referred to the ongoing investigation.

The fatal incident began around 3:00 p.m. Monday when officials tried to stop Kizzee from riding a bicycle for violating vehicle rules, Sheriffs Lt. Brandon Dean without clarifying which codes Kizzee allegedly broke.

When MPs tried to contact Kizzee about the violations, he dropped his bike and ran, the sheriff's department said in their statement.

After a chase, MPs say, Kizzee slapped one of them in the face and dropped a jacket. At that point, a semi-automatic pistol fell to the ground. The department said Kizzee then "made a move towards the gun" when MPs opened fire.

The family's lawyers argued that even if Kizzee dropped a gun, it was not holding it or posed a threat when officers fired their guns at him.

The two MPs involved in the shooting were a trainee and his manager, the Los Angeles Times reported. Douglas said MPs were involved in "contagious fire" in which a training officer opens fire and the trainee follows or vice versa.

On Monday evening, a large crowd had gathered outside the sheriff's office to seek justice for Kizzee while deciphering the department's lack of body cameras due to be implemented this fall.

Many protesters see in Kizzee's death another painful episode of systematic police brutality and racism that disproportionately affects minority communities.

"This shows how broken our law enforcement and police facilities are and how they build on and continue to perpetuate racist stereotypes," said Claudia Ruiz, political analyst at UnidosUS, an advocacy group for Latinos.

"This legalized genocide of people of color must stop," said attorney Ben Crump, who is also part of the senior legal team for the Kizzee family, and urged the authorities to implement "meaningful police reform" that would protect black lives.

By getthru

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