A Black man shot and killed by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies wasn’t holding a gun when they opened fire, attorneys for his family said Tuesday, contradicting a claim that he had picked up a dropped weapon during a struggle.
Crump also represents the families of George Floyd and Jacob Blake. Floyd was killed when a Minneapolis officer knelt on his neck, and Blake was left paralyzed by a police shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Those incidents prompted nationwide protests. Kizzee’s death also sparked a series of mostly peaceful demonstrations.
Kizzee was killed Aug. 31 in South Los Angeles after sheriff’s deputies tried to stop him for riding a bicycle in the wrong direction. They said they were unaware he had a weapon wrapped in a piece of clothing he was carrying at the time.
Two deputies told investigators they fatally shot Kizzee after he picked up the handgun he had dropped during a struggle with one of them, authorities said last week. A video shows him stooping down. But a wall blocks a full view, and no weapon can be seen.
It doesn’t appear the deputies tried to de-escalate the situation before shooting Kizzee.
Kizzee was shot multiple times in the chest and arms and once in the back, authorities have said. The full autopsy hasn’t been completed yet.
Carl Douglas, another civil rights attorney who is representing Kizzee’s family, said witnesses said the deputies fired three or four shots at Kizzee, followed by a pause and then a second volley while he was on the ground.
An independent autopsy commissioned by relatives shows he was struck 15 times, Douglas said.
“We have no comment about the private autopsy results,” Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau Capt. Kent Wegener said in a statement.