LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Families of those killed by deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department are demanding the state investigate the department, claiming that it’s rife with corruption.
In the last five months, about a dozen people have been shot and killed by L.A. County sheriff’s deputies. The latest was Frederick Williams, who was killed last week in Willowbrook.
The families of those killed were outside the Hall of Justice in Downtown Los Angeles Wednesday, demanding California Attorney General Xavier Becerra launch an investigation into the department.
They claim the department has a pattern of killing Black men, alleging that one of the most dangerous gangs in the county is the sheriff’s department itself.
The families said that when they have asked for records required to be made public, the department has kept them secret.
The family of Dijon Kizzee, who was shot to death by sheriff’s deputies in August, said the deputies were not really peace officers.
“My cousin was peacefully riding his bicycle when they disturbed his peace and then they hunted him down on a different street, not even the street he was riding his bicycle on,” Jaime Kizzee, cousin of Dijon Kizzee, said. “They hunted my cousin, and the sheriff’s department shot at him 19 times. His body was filled with 16 of those bullets.”
“The County Jail is the breeding place for the sheriff’s department,” Helen Jones, mother of John Horton, said. “That’s where they do their main recruiting at, and once they get through beating the inmates and get their stripes, they get to pick what gang they want to be from — go to East LA, go get to be a Bandito, or they get to go pick to be in Watts at the sheriff’s station right there in Lynwood.”
Horton died by apparent suicide in his cell at the Men’s Central Jail in 2009.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva has said that he has taken action to end so-called deputy cliques.
Neither Villanueva nor the attorney general have responded to requests for comment.