Los Angeles (CNS) — Two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies involved in the fatal shooting of a 29-year-old black man in the Westmont area will not face any criminal charges, a report released Tuesday by the district attorney’s office concluded that the shooting could reasonably be considered self-inflicted. Defense
The August 31, 2020 shooting of Dijon Keese, who was first contacted by deputies while riding his bike on the wrong side of the road on East 110th Street, was one of several deputy shootings that year that sparked protests across the Southland. Multiple gatherings outside the South Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station.
But in a report released Nov. 10 by the District Attorney’s Office Justice System Integrity Division, the office concluded that deputies Christian Morales and Michael Garcia “reasonably believed, based on the totality of the circumstances, that force was necessary to defend.” death threats when they first fired their weapons, and there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that neither Morales’ nor Garcia’s final shots were fired in lawful self-defense or defense of another person.
According to the report, Kissey abandoned his bicycle and fled on foot when deputies attempted to stop him for riding on the wrong side of the street. Deputies caught him about a block away as Morales chased Kissey a short distance before seeing the suspect “ready to surrender.”
At the time, Kissi was holding a green handkerchief in one hand and a red jacket in the other, raising her arms as Morales approached. But when the deputy tried to grab his hands, “Kissy punched Morales in the face,” according to the report, prompting Garcia to run to help his partner.
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“The fight resulted in a Ruger 9mm pistol falling to the ground between Kissey and Morales as they stood face-to-face inches apart,” the report said. “Kissi bent down and picked up the pistol. Morales stepped back, drew his weapon, and fired multiple shots at Kissi, who backed away from Morales and fell to the ground, out of view of the surveillance camera. According to both deputies, Kissi went to the ground but ignored their commands to stop and began reaching for the pistol. Morales and Garcia fired several rounds. Rounds were fired, followed by a slow series, with Garcia firing the last shot a few seconds after the previous one.
In all, Kisi was shot 16 times, the report said.
A lawyer for Kissi’s family claimed last year that Kissi did not die instantly, but “was writhing on the ground in agony when officers cut him open.”
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“Witnesses said he never threatened any officer,” said attorney Carl Douglas, who is seeking multimillion-dollar damages against the county. “Later, when the gun fell to the ground, witnesses say the training officer fired four times, hitting Mr. Kisey in the chest. After Mr. Kisey fell to the ground, witnesses say they both opened fire, along with the other officer. Mr. Kisey was hit more than 16 times in the body.”
Sheriff Alex Villanueva held a news conference earlier this month touting the DA’s investigation into the Kissi shooting as one of four completed earlier this year. District Attorney George Gascon, a fierce critic of Villanueva, accused him of withholding the reports until after the Nov. 8 election, refusing to release a document showing his deputies had done wrong before the vote.
The DA’s office issued a statement denying the sheriff’s allegations, saying all such reports go through the chain of command and are not finalized until Gascon or his designee has signed off and notified the families involved.
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