LOS ANGELES (CNS) - An internal investigation into the fatal shooting of a 29-year-old man by sheriff's deputies in Westmont is nearing completion, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said today, and he vowed to quickly make public “all the information we have.”
Villanueva pushed back against calls by some activists for the public release of an autopsy report on Dijon Kizzee, who was fatally shot by two deputies Aug. 31.
“We have one interview left to do of one of the involved deputies, and once we have that ... we're going to be able to hold a press conference and we're going to release all the information we have up to that point -- which is substantial,” Villanueva said. “But it is a very key interview we have to do first before we can release all the information, because to release it before we interview would compromise the integrity of the interview, and we do not want to do that.”
Kizzee was shot during a confrontation with deputies near West 109th Place and South Budlong Avenue.
Sheriff's officials said he was riding a bicycle in the area and deputies stopped him for an unspecified vehicle code violation. After he was stopped, he allegedly punched one deputy then tried to run away and dropped clothing items containing a firearm.
Sheriff's officials have said he made a motion toward the gun, but Kizzee's family and community activists have accused the deputies of shooting an unarmed man in the back. They insist he was not wielding a weapon and was actually running away from the deputies when he was shot.
On Wednesday, Kizzee's relatives held a news conference with supporters, calling on the coroner's office to release the results of an autopsy. The results have been placed on a security hold by the sheriff's department, citing the continuing investigation.
An attorney for Kizzee's family has alleged that the man was shot as many as 20 times in the back.
Villanueva said he hopes to have the investigation completed and the information made public in the next few days.
“We'll have a lot of information that'll give you the entire context of what happened, and it will answer all of the questions you might have,” he said.
The shooting has prompted a series of protests outside the South Los Angeles sheriff's station. Four nightly protests were held from Saturday through Tuesday, resulting in more than three dozen arrests after deputies declared them to be unlawful assemblies, due to some participants hurling objects at deputies, Villanueva said. The sheriff has repeatedly insisted that while some people are legitimately taking part in the gatherings, the groups have been infiltrated by people from outside the Westmont area looking to instigate violence.
Villanueva repeated that assertion Thursday, while joined by four people described as area business owners and activists. One of them was a Republican congressional candidate.
A representative of the Revolution Club, which helped organize the protests, said the organization wants to see the deputies involved in the shooting face criminal charges. She told City News Service this week that gatherings of people from across the region and even the nation are needed to push for change.
“There's a tremendous need right now for masses of people ... to come into the streets in non-violent protest against the violent, racist repression that is being carried out against Black people, against Brown people, against everybody who is protesting that violence,” Lucha Bright said.
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