Petition for restraining order alleges unlawful use of force by L.A. County Sheriff’s Department at protests

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Brenda Baraquil stands in front of L.A. County sheriff’s deputies wearing riot gear during a Sept. 12 protest in South L.A. calling for justice in the aftermath of the killing of Dijon Kizzee. (Josie Norris / Los Angeles Times)

Brenda Baraquil stands in front of L.A. County sheriff’s deputies wearing riot gear during a Sept. 12 protest in South L.A. calling for justice in the aftermath of the killing of Dijon Kizzee. (Josie Norris / Los Angeles Times)

Plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit are seeking a temporary restraining order and injunction to limit the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s use of nonlethal force at protests, claiming it has employed rubber bullets, tear gas and other chemical agents indiscriminately against peaceful protestors, journalists and legal observers in violation of the Constitution.

The petition, filed Monday in U.S. District Court, focuses on protests in recent weeks against police brutality and the shooting of Dijon Kizzee, who was killed by sheriff’s deputies Aug. 31 in Westmont after being flagged for a vehicle code violation while riding his bike. The incident has spurred daily protests in front of the South L.A. sheriff’s station.

In court documents, a group of 13 plaintiffs — including protestors injured at marches against police violence over the summer — claim that the department has been improperly using force to disperse crowds without giving those present sufficient warning and time to obey orders.

“Instead of deploying these weapons in a defensive manner to protect themselves and others, the LASD has been deliberately using less-lethal munitions and chemical agents in an indiscriminate and retaliatory fashion against people engaged in lawful activities, including journalists and legal observers,” a memorandum filed with the petition states.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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