Fatal police shooting of Black man sparks protests in Los Angeles

Deputies with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department stand in formation during protests following a police shooting on Aug. 31, 2020 By Claire Colbert, Topher Gauk-Roger and Cheri Mossburg, CNN

(CNN) -- Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies fatally shot Dijon Kizzee, a 29-year-old Black man, during a confrontation Monday afternoon in South LA, sparking protests at the scene.

The sheriff's department says that at about 3:15 p.m. local time two deputies tried to stop Kizzee, who was riding a bicycle "in violation of vehicle codes." When they approached him, he got off the bicycle and ran.

Sheriff's Lt. Brandon Dean told reporters that 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 items of clothing he had been carrying.

It was at that point deputies "noticed that inside the clothing items he dropped was a black semiautomatic handgun," and that's when both deputies opened fire, shooting the man several times, Dean said. Investigators recovered a handgun from the scene.

The man, later identified by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner's Office as Kizzee, was pronounced dead at the scene; an autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday. Neither deputy was injured, Dean said.

Activist Najee Ali, who is representing the family as is attorney Ben Crump, denies that Kizzee was a threat at the time of the shooting. "Being in possession of a gun, but actually using a gun, having it in your hands are two different things," Ali said, adding "he did not point the gun" at officers.

The family is calling for Sheriff Alex Villanueva to release names of the deputies and for their "arrest and criminal prosecution," as well as body cameras to be implemented throughout the force.

"I'm sad and mad at the same time," Kizzee's aunt Fletcher Fair said in a news conference. "This is not America. This is ridiculous. I don't know what, what kind of society ... We are human. I don't give a damn what race you are. We are human beings."

The District Attorney's Office and Office of the Inspector General are assisting in the investigation.

Kizzee's death comes amid public protests over the August 23 police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the May death of George Floyd in Minneapolis after an officer knelt on his neck.

Police not wearing body cameras

Dean said the deputies have yet to be interviewed and were not wearing body cameras, which are not set to be rolled out until the fall, according to CNN affiliate KABC. The Los Angeles Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved $25 million to the sheriff's department for body cameras.

Villanueva has estimated that it will take about 18 months to fully implement them.

Following the shooting, activist group Black Lives Matter L.A. tweeted a call for protesters to gather in the area. CNN affiliate KCBS/KCAL estimated as many as 100 demonstrators were at the scene Monday evening, chanting demands for justice.

"How many more times do we have to gather out here, mourning the loss of our brothers and sisters," one protester told KCBS/KCAL.

LA sheriff's department under fire in another deputy-involved shooting this summer

Monday's shooting comes two and a half months after another Los Angeles shooting under scrutiny.

The FBI is reviewing the death of 18-year-old Andres Guardado, who was shot by a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputy on June 18 near an auto body shop in Gardena.

Tuesday, Guardado's parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the department and deputies, claiming the men used excessive force against their son.

His parents allege that Guardado never posed a risk to deputies or anyone else. The sheriff's department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sheriff's Capt. Kurt Wegener said at the time that Guardado "reportedly looked toward the deputies" and "produced a handgun" before running down the driveway of the business. The deputies pursued Guardado and caught up to him at the rear of the business, where one deputy fired six bullets, Wegener said.

An independent autopsy ordered by Guardado's family found the teen was shot five times in the back; the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office came to the same conclusion, and Guardado's manner of death was certified a homicide.

Sheriff's investigators said last month that the investigation is ongoing, but it's competing with another investigation at the same location, where a person was shot multiple times. The department said that Guardado was not involved in that shooting, but the two deputies involved in Guardado's shooting also responded to that incident.

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