The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Killed by Cops for Riding a Bike in Los Angeles

Sep 14, 2020

On August 31, 2020, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a 29-year-old Black man, Dijon Kizzee. He was shot at 15 times as he ran away and then when he lay motionless on the ground. Then the cops handcuffed him, even though he was already dead.

At a news conference after the killing, Sheriff’s Lt. Brandon Dean said, “Two deputies spotted Kizzee riding his bicycle in violation of vehicle codes. After the deputies went after Kizzee, he dropped the bicycle and ran. When deputies tried to corner Kizzee later, he punched one of them in the face.” But police say Kizzee dropped a bundle of clothing he had been carrying and that the deputies spotted a handgun in the bundle, and both opened fire, killing Kizzee.

Lt. Dean seemed to know every detail, except one. He could not say what code Kizzee allegedly violated that led to the violent responses of deputies. In response, the Kizzee family’s attorneys said, “What we often find in these cases is there’s a vague pretext to justify what eventually is a horrific act.”

“You never see anybody in Beverly Hills or Santa Monica stopped for a code violation while riding a bicycle,” the attorneys also said. According to official data, Black people are at least three times likelier than white cyclists to be pulled over by cops. In Florida, the Tampa Bay Times found that Black people accounted for eight out of ten cyclists ticketed in the city for problems like riding with someone on the handlebars.

The video provided by Kizzee’s family does not confirm the police allegation that he “made a motion” for a gun. The video also does not confirm that Kizzee even had a gun. According to one witness, Kizzee had nothing in his hands.

One witness, who was sitting in a car, said Kizzee had approached her and asked for her help, saying “They’re coming to get me; they’re coming to get me.” Kizzee was scared and just wanted to run away.

Kizzee’s fear was justified. The cops behave in these neighborhoods like an occupation army, trying to control the local population through intimidation and violence.