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LOS ANGELES – The second largest city in the country, on the sidelines after the shootings of George Floyd and Jacob Blake that sparked protests and rioting in the streets, is now dealing with its own racially divisive shots by law enforcement.
Sheriff's MPs fatally shot and killed a black man in a confrontation following their attempt to stop him for an unspecified "code violation" while riding his bicycle through an unincorporated area of south Los Angeles on Monday afternoon.
But unlike Minneapolis, where an officer held a knee to Floyd's neck until he passed out and died, or Kenosha, Wisconsin, where an officer shot Blake seven times in the back, paralyzing him, video that's death from Dijon Kizzee isn’t clinging to is so clear.
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However, the case immediately caught the attention of the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matters, which organized protests, and attorney Ben Crump, who was active in both the Floyd and Blake cases.
At a news conference on Wednesday, Crump and two other lawyers said they were representing Kizzee's family on civil suits against the sheriff's department.
"Dijon Kizzee didn't deserve to be executed in cold blood when he ran away," said Crump. "That seems to happen disproportionately to blacks and browns in America."
Sketch's only crime, Crump said, was being a black person who rides a bicycle.
The sheriff's department said in a statement that Kizzee had got off the bike and escaped on foot when he saw a sheriff's cruiser make a U-turn and walk towards him.
At first Kizzee escaped them. But when they met and confronted him a few blocks away, the department said Kizzee punched a deputy in the face. Then a black semi-automatic pistol fell to the floor as Kizzee dropped his jacket. MPs thought he was going to take up the gun and, according to the testimony, opened fire.
A grainy video, as seen in a tweet from Crump on Wednesday, shows an argument and that Kizzee MPs were aloof when they opened fire. It doesn't seem to corroborate the sheriff's assertion that he applied for a gun.
Crump and his co-counsel Carl Douglas and Dale Galipo said they could count 15 to 20 shots based on audio from the neighbors' videos of the encounter. They said an autopsy will determine not only how many times Kizzee was shot, but also from which direction.
They said it was no surprise Kizzee ran out when MPs tried to confront him. "Look at what happened to black law enforcement in America," Crump said. "He was scared."
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After filming, Black Lives Matters was quick to act. It asked the supporters to demonstrate on site.
"The Los Angeles County Sheriffs killed a black man … Dijon … on the 109th and left Budlong and his body face down in the dirt. We need all hands on deck. Please come as soon as possible the group tweeted. A large crowd gathered and stayed late into the night.
The sheriff's department stated that Kizzee's age is around 30 years.
Kizzee's aunt Fletcher Fair said he was "more of a son to me," especially since her sister's death in 2011. She said Kizzee moved to Lancaster on the northern edge of Los Angeles County and went to high school there but not done I will not dwell on him.
"He was a good boy," she said. "He was never a bad person."
Contributor: The Associated Press