Dijon Kizzee Killing by Sheriff’s Deputies Is a Reminder That Biking Whereas Black Is a Actual Hazard in Racist America – Mom Jones
Dijon Kizzee, a 29-year-old Black man, was riding his bicycle via South Los Angeles on Monday afternoon when he observed two sheriff’s deputies attempting to cease him. He obtained off the bike and began operating.
The deputies say they wished to cease Kizzee as a result of he was driving in violation of auto codes. They chased him down the road. A scuffle ensued, and Kizzee dropped a jacket on the bottom; wrapped inside it was a gun. When the deputies noticed the firearm, they shot him a number of instances, killing him.
The sheriff’s division hasn’t specified which automobile codes Kizzee allegedly broke, and a spokesperson claims he reached towards his gun earlier than the deputies shot him, one thing that may’t clearly be confirmed by the available video footage. The killing, which got here a few week after an officer shot Jacob Blake a number of instances within the again in Wisconsin, has spurred renewed protests in Los Angeles amid a nationwide motion to cease police violence towards Black individuals.
Kizzee’s tragic demise can also be a reminder that throughout the nation, law enforcement officials who’re already disproportionately stopping Black individuals for driving their cars or walking down the street or simply going about their lives are additionally disproportionately stopping them for driving their bikes.
Kizzee just isn’t the primary Black man to die because of one in all these stops. In August 2014, the identical month a Ferguson cop shot Michael Brown, who had been strolling down the road, a sheriff’s deputy stopped Dante Parker, 36, whereas he was driving his bike in Victorville, California. The deputy stated Parker matched the outline of a burglar, and after struggling to detain him, officers used a Taser about 25 instances, killing him. The district lawyer’s workplace declined to press charges towards the deputies, saying Parker died as a result of he was additionally on medication after an post-mortem report confirmed he had PCP in his system.
There’s no nationwide knowledge on the risks of biking whereas Black, however research in particular person cities reveal an alarming development. In Oakland, California, Black individuals accounted for almost 60 p.c of biking stops by police from 2016 to 2018, making them over 3 times likelier than white cyclists to be pulled over, per public data obtained by Bicycling magazine. The state of affairs isn’t a lot better in Chicago, the place 56 p.c of all bike tickets had been issued in majority-Black neighborhoods in 2017, although US census knowledge exhibits that bike commuting is extra common within the metropolis’s majority-white neighborhoods, according to the Chicago Tribune. In Washington, DC, Black individuals accounted for 88 p.c of biking stops from 2010 to 2017, although they make up about 45 p.c of the district’s general inhabitants, based on extra public data obtained by Bicycling. And Black individuals in DC had been much more prone to be stopped for the imprecise purpose of showing “suspicious.”
Florida provides extra disheartening statistics. A 2015 investigation by the Tampa Bay Instances discovered that Black individuals accounted for 8 out of 10 cyclists who had been ticketed within the metropolis for issues like driving with somebody on the handlebars. After Fort Lauderdale started requiring residents to register their bicycles with town, the Broward Palm Seaside New Instances found that Black cyclists obtained 86 p.c of biking citations from 2010 to 2013, although Black residents had been considerably extra doubtless than white residents to register their bikes.
It’s onerous to get a broader have a look at the issue as a result of many cities don’t share knowledge on the race of cyclists stopped by police. Bicycling requested public data from 100 of probably the most populous cities, and solely three complied. Los Angeles, the place Kizzee was killed, has been a holdout. According to the Associated Press, the sheriff’s division has not supplied these statistics, and the police division doesn’t break down its knowledge about automobile stops by class.
County Superviser Mark Ridley-Thomas advised the information wire that since Kizzee’s demise, he’s heard tales of different Black individuals who had been allegedly harassed by police whereas biking. “Proper now, I’m unhappy, and I’m mad on the similar time,” Kizzee’s aunt Fletcher Honest told the Los Angeles Times. “We’re drained. We’re completely drained.” It was the second deadly taking pictures by sheriff’s deputies inside a block throughout only a few months.