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L.A. County Board of Supervisors Approves $3.4 Million Settlement for Dijon Kizzee’s Family

Elgin Nelson

Four years after Dijon Kizzee, a 29-year-old black man, was fatally shot by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies, his family has been awarded a $3.4 million settlement by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. The lawsuit, filed against Los Angeles County in September 2021, cited civil rights violations, assault and battery, false imprisonment, and negligence, and claimed the influence of rogue deputy gangs within the sheriff’s department contributed to Kizzee’s death.

The suit also argued that the unchecked presence of unofficial deputy groups within the sheriff’s department contributed to the conditions leading to Kizzee’s death.

The incident occurred on the afternoon of August 31, 2020, when Kizzee, stopped for cycling on the wrong side of the road in Westmont, near South Los Angeles, attempted to flee, carrying a firearm in a piece of clothing. After a chase, a confrontation ensued where deputies shot him. Carl Douglas, an attorney for Kizzee’s family, referred to the incident as “an execution,” describing how witnesses saw Kizzee unarmed and standing when deputies fired at him. Despite Kizzee being incapacitated, deputies shot him 16 more times.

Carl Douglas, an attorney for the Kizzee family, said that witnesses saw Kizzee standing up with nothing in his hands when one of the deputies fired three shots at him.

“After Dijon fell and was no longer a threat to any deputy, both deputies then fired 16 additional shots into Dijon’s body, though he was already down, clearly mortally wounded, and posing no threat to any deputy,” he said. “That sounds like an execution to me.”

The lawsuit further contends that, at most, Mr. Kizzee was “at worse, merely a Black man riding his bicycle in a manner that may be contrary to traffic safety regulations, but which is rarely, if ever, enforced by sheriff’s deputies patrolling that neighborhood, especially if the rider is not a Black male,” the suit stated.

The lawsuit criticized the county for inadequate training of the deputies and argued that Kizzee’s actions did not warrant the deadly force employed. It depicted Kizzee as unjustly targeted for a minor traffic violation, highlighting racial biases in law enforcement practices. The claim included concerns over the deputies’ failure to issue a verbal warning before the shooting and their delay in providing medical aid to Kizzee. It also raised suspicions about the deputies’ affiliation with internal gangs.

Although the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office has refrained from pressing criminal charges against the deputies, the sheriff’s department acknowledged the need for additional training in light of the shooting’s tactics.

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