Excessive use-force by Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies in the 2020 killing of Compton resident Dijon Kizzee, was the mitigating factor in a wrongful death suit against LA County. Courtesy Edwin Kizzee's estate
SLAIN BY DEPUTIES
Dijon Kizzee's father, LA county reach tentative agreement
COMPTON (CNS)—The father of a 29-year-old Black man who was fatally shot by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies in 2020 has tentatively settled a lawsuit in which the plaintiff alleged issues of excessive force and the existence of deputy gangs.
Attorneys for Edwin Kizzee, the father of the late Dijon Kizzee, as well as the estate of Dijon Kizzee, filed court papers Monday notifying Compton Superior Court Judge Fumiko Wasserman that a conditional accord was reached, which is subject to approval by the county Claims Board. Wasserman scheduled a status hearing for Nov. 28.
Terms of the tentative settlement were not available.
The suit, filed against Los Angeles County in September 2021, alleged civil rights violations, assault and battery, false imprisonment and negligence, and also maintained the "improper influence of rogue deputy gangs within the sheriff's department" created an environment that directly led to Dijon Kizzee's death.
In their court papers, defense attorneys denied any wrongdoing or liability on the county's part and maintained that the deputies acted "in good faith and without malicious intent."
According to the suit, the county failed to properly train the deputies involved, and Dijon Kizzee did nothing to justify the level of force used against him. Dijon Kizzee was shot at about 3:15 p.m. on Aug. 31, 2020, by
two deputies in the unincorporated community of Westmont, near South Los Angeles. The deputies initially stopped him for biking on the wrong side of East 110th Street.
Deputies said Dijon Kizzee refused to stop and, abandoning his bike, fled while carrying a gun wrapped inside a piece of clothing. He was confronted by the deputies shortly afterward on 109th Place, where one tried to detain him, the sheriff's department has said.
The department contended that Dijon Kizzee dropped a gun during the confrontation with deputies, then picked it up during the physical confrontation and raised it toward them, prompting them to fire at him 19
Dijon Kizzee's attorneys maintained that he was "minding his own business" while riding his bike and that he was stopped for no reason. The plaintiff's lawyers further said Kizzee was shot with his hands in the air, then was shot repeatedly while he was on the ground. Plaintiff's attorney Carl Douglas said previously that an independent autopsy determined Kizzee was shot 15 times and that he did not die instantly, but was "writhing
on the ground in pain when officers opened up on him."
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 deputies had less-lethal alternatives to use on Kizzee and the plaintiffs believe he was not given a verbal warning before he was shot, the suit stated.
The suit further alleged the deputies unreasonably delayed getting Kizzee medical assistance.
Edwin Kizzee believed that each of the deputies are "hopeful members of gang-like cliques which have infected the patrol station where each of these defendants work. These deputy cliques have gang-like rituals, matching tattoos and initiation rites including the unreasonable use of deadly force on
unsuspecting citizens with whom they interact."
County officials knew or should have known that several sheriff's department stations are "infected with this gang-like culture, but (have) done nothing to rid the department of this scourge," the suit stated.
Bowers returns from S. Africa
Los Angeles sister city Lusaka summit conferee
COMPTON (MNS)—Compton Councilman Jonathan Bowers, 3rd District, was honored to be invited and just returned as a special representative of the City of Los Angeles Sister City Program to attend the first World Inter- national Conference in Cape Town, South Africa.
Lusaka, Zambia is the capitol of Zambia, and the site of LA’s first recog- nized African sister city. The honor was bestowed upon Bowers for his earlier humanitarian work prior to becoming a Compton City Councilman, which took him to missions to Haiti in the Caribbean from 2013 thru 2017 and to Zambia in 2019.
As a member of the Los Angeles City Black Firefighters, Bowers was notably responsible for handling the logistics for the Lusaka Zambian Humanitarian Project to move 150,000 pounds of fire equipment by ship, taking two weeks, from Port Hueneme, Calif. to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in East Africa, and then by train to Lusaka.
While in Zambia and in Haiti, Bowers and a contingent of firefighters, who accompanied him, trained personnel in Lusaka and Dar es Salaam on the proper use of the equipment, in addition to carrying out requests for emer- gency assistance by the host countries.
Councilman Jonathan Bowers.
The humanitarian effort led to a Letter of Commendation from Zambia's most recent past President Edgar Lungu.
This year’s invitation was extended by Dr. Ernestine Roberts of the LA Chapter of the Lusaka Sister City Committee. The concept of the international sister city network was first advanced by President Dwight Eisenhower (1953-1961) and the bond with Lusaka was formed in 1967 with the organization of the LA Committee.
In 1979, Thomas Bradley, LA's first black mayor, traveled to Lusaka as a highlight of the organization’s history. A fundraiser to finance the humani- tarian trip was held in January 2019 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, with the First Lady of the Republic of Zambia, Her Excellency Esther Lungu, in attendance along with Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, and former LA councilman Herb Wesson.
This year’s 2023 international multi-cultural gathering in Capetown, South Africa included more than 400 representatives from 20 African nations, the Middle East, Europe, the Caribbean.
"The historic purpose of the sister city affiliation is the promotion of commerce, culture and business between the two cities," said Bowers. "The agenda focused [on] shared interests in three main areas: public Safety, infrastructure, and water and energy alternatives."
While in Africa, Bowers was invited to speak on several guest panels, including the Mayor’s Roundtable of City of Cape Town, South Africa.
Bowers has served 30 years in public service as an emergency medical technician, firefighter, paramedic, engineer and captain, along with extensive hospital emergency room and trauma experience with the Los Angeles County and City of Compton fire departments.
A Compton High School alum, Bowers earned both a bachelor of science degree in fire science administration, and later a teaching credential in 2002.