A deadly US police shooting of another young African-American, sparks protests in Los Angeles

Deadly US police shooting of another young African-American, sparks protests in Los Angeles
Protesters protest the Dijon Kizzee shooting in Los Angeles. REUTERS / Patrick T. Fallon

Officers attempted to detain 29-year-old Dijon Kizzee for “in violation of vehicle codes” but got off from his bicycle and tried to escape. They saw a gun that fell to the ground and shot him

A video released Wednesday shows the moment an African-American man is shot more than 10 times after resisting an arrest in Los Angeles County when he was trying to escape.

The death of Dijon Kizzee, 29, Monday afternoon in south Los Angeles follows other shootings against African-American men who have sparked protests across the United States. One of them was Jacob Blake, who was paralyzed last month in his town of Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump of the Blake family announced Wednesday that he would also represent Kizzee’s relatives, describing the shooting as “a despicable and tragic murder.” “When officers shoot first and ask questions later, precious lives are lost and police lose the credibility and trust of those they have sworn to protect,” Crump said in a statement.

Kizzee was riding a bicycle when officers tried to stop him for an unspecified traffic violation, according to the police department’s version. Kizzee threw down the bicycle and ran before the officers caught up with him. According to the police, he punched one of the officers in the face.

The officers of the largest police department in the country do not have body cameras. The county Board of Supervisors approved the funding Tuesday, and the first batch of officers will be outfitted with cameras next month.

The 44-second video shows a police van stopping on a street. An agent gets out, runs around a parked car and appears to grab Kizzee as he walks down the sidewalk. They struggle on their feet and walk together down the street for several seconds. Kizzee seems to throw a punch, although in the image it is not known if it reaches the agent.

Then it is seen how Kizze manages to free himself, stumbling and falling to the ground. A second agent arrives and in a matter of seconds, the two policemen fire several shots.

Police have said that when Kizzee fell to the ground he dropped a jacket from which a pistol fell and that he “gestured” towards the weapon, prompting the shooting. But in the video, a fence obscures what happened at the time, and he never appears to be in control of the weapon or pose a threat to officers present.

Kizzee’s relatives have described him as devoted to his late mother and 18-year-old brother. He was an energetic man who loved go-karts, cars and music, and was preparing to become a plumber, they said.

Police routinely arrest residents who ride bicycles in communities of color for alleged traffic violations, said Donny Joubert, vice president of the Watts Gang Task Force in Los Angeles, created to reduce gang violence and improve relations between the community and police. White cyclists in affluent neighbourhoods rarely get the same treatment, Joubert said.