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Protesters in Los Angeles are demanding that two sheriff’s deputies be held accountable after they shot and killed a Black man who dropped his gun while fleeing a routine stop for a bike violation.
Over 100 residents marched to the LA County Sheriff’s Department station in South LA just hours after the unidentified officers fatally shot 29-year-old Dijon Kizzee. The shooting occurred Monday afternoon in the Westmont neighborhood, just moments after police attempted to stop Kizzee for an unspecified traffic violation while on a bike, according to the Sheriff’s Lt. Brandon Dean.
When approached by the officers on foot, Kizzee dropped his bike and began to flee, Dean said in a press conference Monday. When police caught up to Kizzee a block later, he punched one of the deputies in the face. In the process, Kizzee dropped a bundle of clothing carrying a semi-automatic handgun, a type of gun that’s illegal in California.
Both officers responded by opening fire and shooting Kizzee at least five times, according to the sheriff’s office. Some witnesses say they heard more bullets being fired.
Kizzee was pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting, and the two deputies were uninjured.
Snapchat video of the incident shows police pursuing Kizzee, who’s carrying clothes in both hands. After a quick cut, the two officers are seen with their guns drawn as onlookers scream.
“They smoked him,” one man is heard saying.
“Why would you all do that?” a woman is heard saying.
“What happened to your Taser?” another person asks.
One witness told NBC News 4 Los Angeles that Kizzee was seen putting his hands in the air immediately after dropping the bundle of clothing.
“The people were saying, ‘Don’t shoot!’,” the unnamed witness told reporters. “He didn’t have no gun in his hands because when he dropped the towel, he put his hands up.”
Later Monday night, protesters gathered outside the sheriff’s office chanting peacefully and demanding answers as to why police drew their weapons when they did.
“If he reached down to grab [the gun], that’s different,” East LA resident Arlander Givens, 68, told the Los Angeles Times. “But if it’s on the ground, why shoot? That means he was unarmed.”
Another unidentified witness who saw the two officers chasing Kizzee moments before the shooting told CBS 2 Los Angeles there was no reason for the cops to fire their weapons.
“He had a towel, and he had his clothes, and his pants couldn’t even stay up, so that’s what made him slow down so they had enough to get him,” she said. “They didn’t have to shoot him more than five times. What’s the use of having the prison system if y’all are just gonna kill us?”
The LA County Sheriff’s Department says multiple independent investigations of the shooting are underway. The department has not said whether the two officers will face disciplinary action as a result of the shooting.
Cover: Screenshot via Snapchat video of incident.