LOS ANGELES — Dismissing the sheriff’s department release of videos and information surrounding the Westmont shooting of Dijon Kizzee by two deputies as a “media-driven sideshow,” an attorney for Kizzee’s family said Sept. 18 the man’s killing was nothing short of “an execution.”
Attorney Carl Douglas said in a statement that Kizzee’s family was
“disturbed by the unspoken messages and half-truths expressed” during a sheriff’s department news conference Sept. 18 to update the investigation of the shooting.
“It was a media-driven sideshow, designed to deflect attention from the 19 shots two sheriff deputies fired at an unarmed man,” Douglas said.
“Nineteen shots reflect poor training, and a failure to properly assess the need for deadly force. Nineteen shots reflect contagious fire and a fundamental lack of humanity for another living soul.
“Nineteen shots reflect poorly trained killers who over-reacted in assessing the need to use deadly force,” he said. “Witnesses to the shooting said Mr. Kizzee was standing up, with nothing in his hands when the younger deputy fired his first three shots at him. After Dijon fell and was no longer a threat to any deputy, both deputies then fired 16 additional shots into Dijon’s body, though he was already down, clearly mortally wounded, and posing no threat to any deputy.
“That sounds like an execution to me,” Douglas said.
Kizzee, 29 was fatally shot Aug. 31 during a confrontation with the two deputies in the Westmont neighborhood of South Los Angeles.
County Sheriff Alex Villanueva held a mid-afternoon press conference on Sept. 17 to update the public on the shooting.
He began by discussing that Westmont is a high-crime area that was dubbed as “Death Alley” buy the Los Angeles Times in 2014.
This year, he said the area has racked up 12 homicides, and 163 incidents of shootings and described these details as “context” as to why the deputies were in the area, and not randomly pulling people over as stated on social media.
“The overwhelming majority of the residents of this community are upstanding, law-abiding citizens, trying to survive in a war zone,” Villanueva said. “We’re trying to save lives.”
Villanueva discussed how defunding by the Board of Supervisors has affected staffing levels for patrol, summer enforcement teams and community programs. Working with youth programs have been eliminated because of the budget shortfall, he said.
Capt. Kent Wegener, head of the homicide bureau, finally disclosed that deputies contacted Kizzee because he riding his bike on the wrong side of the street.
After the deputies tried to make contact with Kizzee, he rode off on his bike, ultimately fell off and, ran. Residents in the area pointed out to deputies which way he was headed.
When the deputies caught up to Kizzee at 109th Place, a scuffle ensued and Kizzee dropped items of clothing, which concealed a 9mm handgun which was later to be determined as stolen.
Multiple videos were shown of the encounter.
One of the videos came from Kizzee’s personal cellphone that showed him with the gun that was recovered at the scene. At the time of the shooting, the gun was loaded with 15 rounds of ammunition.
Kizzee was banned from owning or possessing a weapon at the time, due to a restraining order and his criminal record as a convicted felon, according to the sheriff’s department.
According to Capt. Wegener, an autopsy took place Sept. 2, but the autopsy report had not been completed.
Villanueva said in the spirit of transparency, he wanted to release details to the public in a timely manner.
The Kizzee shooting has prompted a series of protests outside the South Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station, leading to three dozen arrests following clashes between demonstrators and deputies that turned violent.