L.A. Deputies Kill Black Cyclist After a Supposed Traffic Violation

Jessica Coulon
·3 mins read
Photo credit: David McNew - Getty Images
Photo credit: David McNew - Getty Images

From Bicycling

Editor’s note: This story was updated on September 23 when attorneys for Dijon Kizzee’s family said an autopsy showed that the 29-year-old had been shot 15 times.

Dijon Kizzee, 29, died after being shot 15 times by two Los Angeles county sheriff’s deputies, according to attorneys representing Kizzee’s family, when he was stopped on his bike for reportedly committing a traffic violation on Monday, August 31.

According to the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department Information Bureau (SIB), Kizzee was riding down Budlong Avenue in the Westmont neighborhood of South Los Angeles when two deputies, whose names have not been released, approached Kizzee. Kizzee dropped his bicycle and fled on foot.

When the deputies caught up, according to the police statement, Kizzee punched a deputy in the face and attempted to flee again, dropping his jacket and a semiautomatic handgun onto the ground. A police spokesperson said Kizzee “made a motion” toward the gun, and the deputy responded by firing his gun at Kizzee.

Two videos from nearby homes captured the sound of the gunfire. CBS Los Angeles reported that at least 18 rounds are audible. Dean confirmed to Reuters that the deputies fired between 15 to 20 rounds, and he said he cannot say how many hit Kizzee until after the autopsy. The two deputies have been pulled from patrol duty while the investigation is underway.

Latiera Irby, who witnessed the shooting, told the LA Times the deputies both continued shooting after Kizzee fell to the ground. “He had nothing in his hands,” she said.

“Whether the firearm was actually in his hand, if he was motioning towards it, I don’t have those specifics because we haven’t interviewed the actual deputies who were there yet,” Sheriff’s Lieutenant Brandon Dean told Reuters.

“It is not uncommon for deputies to conduct vehicle stops of bicycles. They have to adhere to the same rules of the road as a vehicle does,” Dean stated. He could not confirm which traffic law Kizzee supposedly had violated.

Photo credit: ROBYN BECK - Getty Images
Photo credit: ROBYN BECK - Getty Images

The night after the shooting, more than 100 protesters, family members, and friends gathered at the scene to mourn the death of Kizzee with a candlelight vigil and a makeshift memorial. They then marched to the South L.A. sheriff’s station to protest. Peaceful protests have continued daily since then.

There is no body-camera footage of Kizzee’s shooting, the LA Times reported, because unlike officers in the Los Angeles Police Department, officers in the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) have not yet been equipped with them.

In a recent report, Bicycling analyzed public data from three major U.S. cities and found that Black cyclists are reportedly stopped for traffic violations at a rate roughly three times higher than White cyclists.

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