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Julianna Lacoste had just shown television cameras a spot on the back of her neck where she said a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy had placed his knee during a protest in South Los Angeles this week. Speaking at a news conference Friday in a public parking lot nearby, her voice trembled as she recalled feeling as if she was going to die from the pressure.

Suddenly, the attention of media and speakers turned elsewhere.

A group of deputies in riot gear who had been watching closely behind a line of yellow tape quickly advanced closer.

Moments before, prominent local activist Najee Ali had briefly crossed the tape, loudly asking the officers why two of their colleagues had stopped 29-year-old Dijon Kizzee on Aug. 31 for an alleged vehicle violation while he was riding his bicycle in a South L.A. neighborhood before pursuing and ultimately killing him.

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