One Year Ago Today (September 12, 2020)…At least 200 people marched from the site where Dijon Kizzee was shot by sheriff’s deputies to a site near the South Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station to protest the shooting death of the 29-year-old man.
They chanted “Put down your riot gear. I don’t see no riot here,” at deputies who sealed off Imperial Highway from Figueroa Street to Normandie Avenue and watched them march.
“It is a standard protocol to protect the sheriff’s station,” Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Ortiz told City News Service. It is something deputies “wear every day during demonstrations.”
Protesters also chanted “Peace on the sheriff,” and one sign carried in the demonstration read: “This is a revolt against racism.”
The march and rally started at 11 a.m. at 109th Street and Budlong Avenue, where Kizzee was shot on Aug. 31, and proceeded to Imperial Highway and Figueroa Street, near the sheriff’s station at 1310 W. Imperial Highway, where protesters chanted and spoke.
They marched back to the shooting scene, where relatives of Kizzee were expected to speak alongside relatives of Anthony Weber, a 16-year-old boy fatally shot by deputies in the Westmont area in February 2018.
In May 2019, Los Angeles County agreed to pay Weber’s family $3.75 million to settle a lawsuit.
The shooting of Kizzee has prompted a series of protests outside the South Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station.
Four nightly protests were held from Saturday through Tuesday, resulting in more than three dozen arrests after deputies declared them to be unlawful assemblies, due to some participants hurling objects at deputies, according to Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
Villanueva has repeatedly insisted that while some people are legitimately taking part in the gatherings, the groups have been infiltrated by people from outside the Westmont area looking to instigate violence.
Cliff Smith of Roofers Local 36, one of the organizers of Saturday’s march, countered that protesters only started throwing rocks and bottles after deputies advanced on them firing chemical irritants and that his 7-year-old daughter suffered the results of chemical irritant fired near her.
Sheriff’s officials said Kizzee 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 and dropped clothing item containing a firearm.
Sheriff’s officials have said he made a motion toward the gun, but Kizzee’s family and community activists have accused the deputies of shooting an unarmed man in the back. They insist he was not wielding a weapon and was actually running away from the deputies when he was shot.
“We’ll have a lot of information that’ll give you the entire context of what happened, and it will answer all of the questions you might have,” Villanueva said.
On Wednesday, Kizzee’s relatives held a news conference with supporters, calling on the coroner’s office to release the findings of the autopsy. The results have been placed on a security hold by the sheriff’s department, citing the continuing investigation.
Coroner’s Investigator Kelsie Weber told City News Service that the sheriff’s department does use security holds during investigations, and the coroner’s office is unable to make public autopsy information about such a case until the hold is released.