Some protesters arrested outside the South Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station while demonstrating against the fatal shooting of Dijon Kizzee by a pair of deputies were held overnight and required to post bond for a misdemeanor offense, one of the women arrested said Tuesday.
The Sheriff’s Information Bureau did not respond to a request for additional information on those who were arrested, but a woman who said she was booked for misdemeanor failure to disperse on Sunday told City News Service she and most of the other protesters were held overnight at the South Los Angeles station.
Lucha Bright, of the Revolution Club, said she had to post a $500 bond to meet her $5,000 bail amount and secure her release around noon Monday, despite a zero bail schedule in effect in Los Angeles County for most misdemeanors.
During the pandemic, many misdemeanors have been handled with a citation rather than an arrest, in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 in jails. Failure to disperse carries a potential penalty of up to six months in jail and a fine up to $1,000.
Bright said she believes only one protester arrested Sunday did not have to post bond — a man who was injured when he was allegedly shot by some type of non-lethal munitions fired by one or more deputies.
More unrest occurred at the same sheriff’s station Monday night, when about 175 protesters gathered outside the station at 1310 W. Imperial Highway, according to Deputy Eric Ortiz of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau. Reports from the scene indicated the protest started at 8:30 p.m.
At 10 p.m. the demonstration was declared an unlawful assembly after protesters began throwing rocks and bottles at deputies, Ortiz said.
Deputies responded by firing pepper balls and flash-bang rounds to disperse protesters, he said.
Four men, one woman and one juvenile were arrested for allegedly failing to disperse, Ortiz said. The juvenile was processed and released to parents. He did not know the custody status of the five adults.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva went to the South L.A. sheriff’s station Monday evening and told reporters that deputies made 13 arrests Sunday night, many of whom he alleged were out-of-state agitators looking to incite a riot after pipes and bottles were thrown.
Villanueva said the LASD will not allow any protesters near their station and that any agitators looking to start violence will see a swift response from deputies. Streets were blocked off in the area and multiple specialized Sheriff’s Response Teams were mobilizing near the station, he said.
“To those protesting at South LA Sheriff’s Station: We support the community wanting to protest, to peacefully exercise their 1st Amendment rights. However, we are concerned there are individuals from outside of the community, and state, wanting to incite riots,” the sheriff’s department tweeted. “Those individuals have already committed acts of vandalism, looting and assaults utilizing rocks, pipes and mortars. Everyone’s public safety is our priority. If you are in the area, please be aware of your surroundings so that you are not hurt by those inciting violence.”
Bright said protests at the station on Saturday and Sunday nights were nonviolent. She compared the sheriff’s comments about outsiders to those of racist Southern sheriffs during the 1960s civil rights movement, and said that bringing a diverse group of people together from neighborhoods all across the city and even the country will be necessary to create change.
“There’s a tremendous need right now for masses of people … to come into the streets in non-violent protest against the violent, racist repression that is being carried out against Black people, against Brown people, against everybody who is protesting that violence,” Bright told City News Service.
Bright recalled handing her megaphone to a young Black man from the neighborhood who asked deputies calling on the crowd to disperse, “Where do you want us to go? We live here. Why don’t you leave?”
The Revolution Club, just one of the groups that assembled outside the sheriff’s station, wants to see the officers involved in Kizzee’s death face criminal charges, Bright said. The group planned to hold a car caravan in the South Los Angeles area Tuesday night to reach out to the residents and create a kind of “moving protest.” The group could not say whether other organizations planned another night of protest outside the sheriff’s station.
Kizzee was fatally shot Aug. 31 during a confrontation with deputies near West 109th Place and South Budlong Avenue. Sheriff’s officials said he was riding a bicycle in the area and deputies stopped him for an unspecified vehicle code violation. After he was stopped, he allegedly tried to run away.
“Our suspect was holding some items of clothing in his hands, punched one of the officers in the face and dropped the items in his hands,” Lt. Brandon Dean said.
“The deputies noticed that inside the clothing items that he dropped was a black, semiautomatic handgun, at which time, a deputy-involved-shooting occurred.”
The sheriff’s department alleged that Kizzee “made a motion toward the firearm,” while community activists have accused deputies of fatally shooting an unarmed man.
An attorney for the family alleges Kizzee was shot more than 20 times and in the back. The Los Angeles Times cited sources saying the involved deputies were a trainee and his supervisor.
There was also a dispute over the autopsy, with the inspector general saying he was not informed by the sheriff’s department of the procedure despite specifically asking to be included, and Villanueva calling the IG’s remarks “disingenuous” and insisting that notice of autopsies are made by the coroner’s office, not the sheriff.
Some activists protesting police shootings have called for District Attorney Jackie Lacey to step down because she has failed to prosecute such cases.
Lacey’s office has reviewed 258 fatal officer-involved shootings between Dec. 3, 2012, when she was sworn in, and July 31, 2020, according to a spokesman for the D.A.’s office.
In December 2018, Deputy Luke Liu was charged with voluntary manslaughter in the Feb. 24, 2016, shooting death of Francisco Garcia at a Norwalk gas station. He is awaiting trial. All of the other fatal shooting cases were declined for criminal prosecution. Lacey’s office has charged at least 23 officers with assault in cases alleging excessive force.
Lacey has said in a number of interviews that it is difficult to prosecute law enforcement officers, a sentiment echoed by prosecutors across the country. She said she chooses the cases she can win under California law, and says that changing the county’s lead prosecutor won’t change the number of convictions.
“If you look at my record though, I believe that we’ve been on the right side — we’ve prosecuted those cases that we could, and those cases where we didn’t have the evidence, we did not,” she told Fox11 in June.
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