The family of a Black bicyclist fatally shot by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies after he was stopped for a traffic violation has retained civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who also represents the family of Wisconsin police shooting victim Jacob Blake.
Blake was shot in the back and paralyzed while 29-year-old Dijon Kizzee died in the Monday afternoon shooting in South Los Angeles. Blake’s shooting last month prompted large and violent protests in his hometown of Kenosha. There have been two smaller, peaceful protests for Kizzee.
“We stand with Dijon’s family in demanding justice and transparency into this despicable and tragic killing perpetrated by Los Angeles County officers,” Crump said in a statement Wednesday. “When officers shoot first and ask questions later, precious lives are lost and police lose credibility and trust from those they are sworn to protect.”
A Sheriff’s Department statement released Tuesday said deputies tried to stop Kizzee for riding his bicycle in violation of vehicle codes, but did not identify the alleged infraction. Kizzee got off his bike and ran and the deputies momentarily lost sight of him.
When they caught up, Kizzee punched one deputy in the face and dropped a jacket along with a black semiautomatic handgun, according to the statement. The shooting occurred when Kizzee “made a motion” toward the gun, the statement said.
Family members described Kizzee as devoted to his late mother and 18-year-old brother. They said he was an energetic man who loved go-karts, cars and music, and was working toward a career in plumbing,
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the largest in the nation, does not have body cameras for deputies, though that soon will change. The county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved funding, and the first round of deputies will be equipped with cameras next month.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva offered his condolences to Kizzee’s family, which he said includes a cousin who is a member of the Sheriff’s Department.