Two Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a Black man who scuffled with them after he was stopped for riding his bicycle in violation of vehicle code, authorities have said.
Family members identified the dead man as Dijon Kizzee, 29, CBS-Los Angeles reported on Monday. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Protesters gathered at the site of the shooting and more than 100 people marched to a sheriff’s station, demanding justice. Some chanted “say his name” and “no justice, no peace”, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Sheriff’s Lieutenant Brandon Dean said the deputies from the South Los Angeles station had spotted a man riding a bicycle in violation of vehicle codes and attempted to stop the man.
He fled on foot, and when officers caught up with him he punched one deputy in the face, dropping some items of clothing he was carrying, he said.
“The deputies noticed that inside the clothing items that he dropped was a black semi-automatic handgun, at which time a deputy-involved shooting occurred,” Dean told reporters.
It was not immediately clear if the man was reaching for the gun when he was shot. Dean said officials had yet to interview the deputies involved.
“He was in possession of a firearm and did assault a deputy,” Dean said.
Neighbourhood resident Arlander Givens, 68, questioned why deputies fired at a man who, according to the sheriff’s official, was not holding a weapon.
“If he reached down to grab it, that’s different,” Givens told the Los Angeles Times. “But if it’s on the ground, why shoot? That means he was unarmed.”
Dean said investigators had not yet interviewed witnesses or reviewed any surveillance or mobile phone video footage.
“Give us time to conduct our investigation,” he said. “We will get all of the facts of this case and eventually present them.”
The Sheriff’s Department said multiple independent investigations began at the scene.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors was set to vote on Tuesday to fund a body-worn camera programme for the sheriff’s department. Sheriff Alex Villanueva has feuded with the supervisors in recent months and repeatedly called on them to approve the money for the body cameras.
The latest killing came as US President Donald Trump was headed for Kenosha, Wisconsin on Tuesday, where police shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, seven times in the back on August 23, leaving him paralysed from the waist down.
Blake’s shooting by a white officer ignited fresh protests three months after the killing of George Floyd, who suffocated beneath the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis in May, sparking the most widespread civil unrest in the US since the 1960s.
The demonstrations in Kenosha have deteriorated repeatedly into violence as armed white vigilantes face-off against protesters, culminating in the killing of two people. A white 17-year-old Trump supporter has been arrested and charged with the murders.
Wisconsin’s governor Tony Evers said Trump was not welcome in Kenosha amid fears the president is fanning the violence as he shifts national debate from his handling of the coronavirus pandemic to “law and order” ahead of the November 3 election.