Los Angeles Collegian Online

Residents, BLM Activists Gather to Condemn Killings

By Brian Perez 

(HOLLYWOOD, Calif.) Tiara Lucas commutes every day from her Westmont neighborhood of South Los Angeles to Los Angeles International Airport where she inspects passengers for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.

Life on her block is anything but peaceful — 109th Street in one of the most violent cities of L.A. County — but the street she lives on became the focus of a national uproar when a man was shot to death by police on Aug. 31.

“Myself and others are just tired of this happening, not just here in L.A., but throughout the country,” Lucas said. 

For weeks, Black Lives Matter protesters from across L.A. County gathered at 109th Street to mark the death of Dijon Kizzee in the Westmont area of South L.A.

Kizzee was a 29-year-old African American who was shot 19 times by L.A. County Sheriff’s deputies after he was stopped on his bicycle and ran from them.

The protestors shouted at a police barricade on Sept. 12 in Westmont. Hundreds of L.A. County residents expressed outrage at sheriff’s deputies for antagonizing and shooting their neighbors. 

Westmont ranked 24 out of 209 L.A. County neighborhoods for the most violent crime in L.A. 

Protesters React to ‘Injustice’

Times ranking. Nine people were killed in this town with a population of about 33,000 in 2020.

Lucas was one of the 109th Street neighbors who supported the protests in front of her house. 

“I’m just not satisfied with L. A. County Sheriff[s] at all,” Lucas said. “I remember last year, I was sitting in a car outside my house with the window rolled down, when a deputy reached inside and unlocked it without explanation.” 

Dante Jackson, a teenager who also lives on 109th Street, said he can’t stand the Sheriffs’ use of tear gas against protesters on his block.

“I have had cops shine lights into my bathroom, which annoys me, along with the smell of fumes coming inside my house,”Jackson said. “And it makes me feel like I’m about to choke to death”

South L.A. resident Shaunta Whiting was one of the protesters shouting at a Sheriffs’ barricade. She said she felt Kizee’s death marked a turning point between the police and her community. 

“I came out here to support BLM and seeing non-Black protestors makes me happy to see us all coming together,” Whiting said. “And some even come from outside of South Central to come protest, because we in the community are scared of the police.”

Ricardo Miranda marched on a sidewalk near the gathering.

“I came all the way from Pasadena to be out here for those who cannot, like the elderly and those on probation because they’re not allowed to be here,” Miranda said. 

Everyone interviewed said they didn’t know what they should do next. Tiara Lucas who is a federal law enforcement officer herself in the TSA said she wants justice for the loss of innocent people who caused no harm.

“When you see injustice, it strikes you to move,” Lucas said. “And we need to make our voices heard.”

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