Public voice frustrations during town hall meeting over LASD killing Dijon Kizzee


Emily Holshouser

Protesters demanding justice for Dijon Kizzee in South Los Angeles, Calif. on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020. Many members of the public called in during the Civilian Oversight Committee town hall, voicing their concerns and frustrations with police brutality and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.

Trevor Morgan, Contributor

Protests and outcry continued this week following the death of 29-year-old Dijon Kizzee in Westmont. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies shot and killed Kizzee on Aug. 31.

This prompted the Los Angeles County Civilian Oversight Commission to hold a virtual public forum led by the Chair of the Commission, Lael Rubin. The town hall allowed the public to share their concerns regarding the death of Kizzee.

“I’m tired of thoughts and prayers,” Rubin said. “I want action, and the Civilian Oversight Commission wants action.”

According to the LASD report, Kizzee was shot by deputies after being pulled over on his bicycle for a traffic violation. Police alleged that Kizzee attempted to reach for a gun dropped on the ground after assaulting one of the deputies, which resulted in the shooting and killing of Kizzee.

Attorneys representing Kizzee’s family are critical of the deputies’ actions. One attorney representing the family argued that the police will use a bicycle violation as a “pretext to justify a stop when a shooting or other use of force has occurred,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Rubin stated that the commission invited the sheriff’s department to send a representative to the meeting. No LASD representatives were in attendance.

Approximately 40 civilians called into the meeting for public comment. Speakers of the public forum were given two minutes to voice their concerns.

Most participants were critical of law enforcement; many called for defunding or abolishing the police.

One person called police killings “the genocide of people of color.”

“How do we move forward with a flawed system?” asked one civilian, who described himself as a pastor working in Skid Row. “It is flawed by design, it’s not even a broken clock. It can’t even be right twice a day.

Some who called in for public comment were critical of the commission itself.

“Right now you’re waiting on a RAND study on ‘deputy sub-groups,’” a citizen said. “It’s difficult to take you seriously if you can’t say ‘gangs.’”

The meeting concluded with Inspector General Max Huntsman voicing his frustration about being denied full access to the autopsy of Kizzee by the LASD.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva responded to these complaints in a recent statement, saying Huntsman was not included, “for his own administrative incompetence in failing to make provisions for his attendance at the autopsy of Mr. Dijon Kizzee.”

The next LACCOC meeting will be held on Sept. 17.