An African American cyclist, Dijon Kizzee has been fatally shot by Los Angeles County police, the latest instance of police killing a black man.
However, both the county Sheriff’s Department and the lawyer representing Kizzee’s family gave different accounts of the shooting on Tuesday.
Benjamin Crump, the lawyer to the 29-year-old cyclist, said the cyclist was shot more than 20 times in the back on Monday afternoon after two sheriff’s deputies tried to stop him for a bicycle code violation.
But the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said Dijon Kizzee, was shot fewer than 20 times after dropping a handgun he had been carrying and punching one of the deputies.
The killing renewed protests in the city by demonstrators angered at deadly violence against Black people by police. Such protests have become a near daily occurrence around the country after George Floyd, a Black man, was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer in May.
“You don’t kill any race but us, and it don’t make any sense,” Fletcher Fair, Dijon Kizzee’s aunt, told reporters at the site of the shooting on Tuesday where activists called for an independent investigation by California’s attorney general. “Why us?”
Protests also continued in Kenosha, Wisconsin, over a white police officer’s shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, seven times in the back, leaving him paralyzed, and the unrest has become a major issue ahead of November’s presidential election.
President Donald Trump, a Republican, arrived in Kenosha on Tuesday as he seeks to rally his base of white supporters by defending police against criticism of brutality.
Kizzee was riding his bike on Monday afternoon in Los Angeles County’s Westmont neighborhood when two sheriff’s deputies who had been driving by tried to stop him.
Kizzee abandoned his bike and ran for a block with the deputies in pursuit,
Brandon Dean, a sheriff’s department spokesman, told reporters on Monday evening. Kizzee then punched one of the deputies in the face, dropping a bundle of clothing he was carrying, the department said.
The deputies said a semi-automatic handgun was in the dropped bundle, and both of them began shooting Kizzee, the department said.
Dean said he did not know what part of the bicycle code Kizzee was suspected to have violated or how many times the deputies shot him, other than saying it was fewer than 20.
His office declined to answer questions about the shooting and the status of the two deputies on Tuesday.
The county coroner was due to conduct an autopsy on Kizzee on Tuesday.
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However, Crump, a civil rights lawyer known for representing Black victims of police violence around the country, wrote in a Twitter post: “They say he ran, dropped clothes and handgun. He didn’t pick it up, but cops shot him in the back 20+ times then left him for hours.”
Crump asked on Twitter for people to send him any videos of the incident, saying that sheriff’s deputies are not required to wear body cameras.