SOUTH LOS ANGELES — The family of Dijon Kizzee has filed a $35 million claim against Los Angeles County seeking $35 million, according to a copy of the filing provided by attorneys.
The suit calls for $25 million for “severe and substantial” damages incurred by his father, Edwin Kizzee, and $10 million for economic and injury costs to his estate “stemming from the intentional and/or negligent infliction of harm on Mr. Kizzee,” who was shot and killed by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies while riding his bike in the unincorporated area of Westmont last Aug. 31.
“The family hopes that Dijon’s death can be used to expose the corruption and excessive force against Black and brown people, that is unfortunately raging like a virus throughout the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.” the family said in a statement. “Truth is the only vaccine that will bring about a
According to sheriff’s Capt. Kent Wegener, deputies made contact with Kizzee for allegedly riding on the wrong side of the street. Kizzee ran when confronted by deputies, punched a deputy, and while running dropped a gun from under his clothing. When he reached down to retrieve the weapon he pointed it at the deputies, who fired off nearly 20 rounds, killing him.
The family is represented by attorneys Benjamin Crump and Carl Douglas, who have outlined in the family’s claim that the county failed to properly train the deputies involved, and that Kizzee “did nothing to justify this use of serious and unreasonable force against him,” among other allegations.
Wegener detailed how Kizzee had prior arrests and was in possession of a handgun that was reported stolen in the city of Las Vegas. The gun in Kizzee’s possession matched a gun he brandished on his social media pages in the days preceding the shooting.
Kizzee “was not suspected of having committed violence against any person,” the family’s attorneys stated. “The deputies far outnumbered him, and were better trained and equipped to detain and handcuff him without shooting him 16 times after firing 19 rounds at him.”
“We filed this $35 million claim to send a message from the mountaintop that we won’t continue to let the people who we pay taxes to continue to kill our children,” Crump said at a press conference Feb. 11.
A claim is a legally required precursor to a lawsuit against a government. If the county rejects the claims or fails to respond to it within 45 days, a lawsuit can be filed.
Last September, attorney Douglas said an independent autopsy determined Kizzee was shot 15 times, and that he did not die instantly, but was “writhing on the ground in pain when officers opened up on him.”
He reiterated last week the assertion that Kizzee was shot while running away from deputies — a training officer and a trainee, whose names have not been released.
“Witnesses said that he was trying to run away from the officers,” Douglas said. “Witnesses said that he never threatened any officer with anything. And then, once that gun dropped to the ground, witnesses say that the training officer fired four times, striking Mr. Kizzee in his chest. And after Mr. Kizzee fell to the ground, witnesses say the other officer joined and they both opened up and struck Mr. Kizzee’s body more than 16 different times.”
A video released by the department shows the initial struggle, in which Kizzee can be seen swinging his arms at the deputies. A 9mm semiautomatic handgun, loaded with 15 rounds, was recovered at the scene, according to Wegener, who said the gun was reported stolen during a Las Vegas residential burglary in February 2017.
2 Urban Girls is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers who covers the Compton and Inglewood areas. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.