September 10, 2020

By City News Service


Sheriff Alex Villanueva insisted again today that ``disruptive groups'' from outside the area have inflamed recent protests outside the South Los Angeles sheriff's station, and only one of the three dozen people arrested over the past four nights was an area resident.

Protests have been held nightly outside the station since Saturday in response to the Aug. 31 deadly shooting by two deputies of Dijon Kizzee in the Westmont area. Villanueva said that while some people attending are likely there to protest peacefully, outsiders are taking advantage of the gatherings to incite violence.

“Some of the disruptive groups that came to – we'll call it `protest' in quotes, because they came dressed like they were going to play tackle football, with shoulder pads, helmets, knee pads, everything,'' Villanueva said in an update on Facebook Live. “They came armed and they came armed with fireworks, mortars, frozen water bottles, you name it. And they had gloves, heat-resistant gloves, goggles, everything.

“They're not there to protest,'' he said. “Come on, let's knock off any pretense that these people are here to engage in the lawful exercise of their First Amendment rights. They're not. Their whole goal is to disrupt law enforcement activities. As soon as something starts flying our way, we will respond in kind and we will declare it an unlawful assembly and then we'll take whatever action we need to stop that. That's it.”

The sheriff said 36 people were arrested over the past four nights, and only one of them was from the general vicinity of South Los Angeles.

“We got them from Florida. We got some from San Francisco. I think one from Michigan,'' he said. “Everywhere but Westmont. Go figure.''

Tuesday night's demonstration over the of Kizzee, 29, was declared an unlawful assembly at about 8:15 p.m., according to sheriff's Deputy Trina Schrader.

The 17 people arrested will likely face charges under California Penal Code section 409, which relates to remaining present at the scene of an unlawful assembly after being lawfully warned to disperse, sheriff's officials told City News Service.

It was the fourth consecutive night demonstrators gathered outside the station, located at 1310 W. Imperial Highway, to protest the shooting of Kizzee, who 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.

Category: News