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Dijon Kizzee Family Spokesman Calls On Coroner To Override 'Security Hold' On Autopsy

Protesters denouncing the killing of Dijon Kizzee. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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A spokesman for the family of Dijon Kizzee today called on the coroner to release his autopsy, despite a "security hold" placed on the report by the L.A. County Sheriff's Department.

Two deputies shot and killed the 29-year-old Kizzee during an altercation on Aug. 31, sparking daily protests.

The department typically requests a security hold to prevent the release of an autopsy until it has finished its investigation of a case, in part because detectives worry releasing it could taint witnesses' accounts.

But Kizzee’s family wants the autopsy released now, said its spokesman, Najee Ali.

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"We say he was shot unjustly and we are hopeful the autopsy results will reveal what really happened," he told a news conference.

The family is questioning the official story that deputies killed the Kizzee when he allegedly made a motion toward a gun they say he had dropped.

Once Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner Dr. Jonathan Lucas completes his investigation into Kizzee’s death, he will "evaluate the security hold request" and decide whether to comply with it, based on his office's policies, spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani told us. She said she did not know how long Lucas' investigation will take.

This summer, Lucas took the highly unusual step of overriding the security hold in another controversial deputy shooting: the June 18 killing of Andres Guardado. That autopsy revealed that a deputy shot Guardado five times in the back.

The Kizzee family’s attorneys plan to conduct an independent autopsy as soon as the coroner releases the body, Ali said.

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He also called for Sheriff Alex Villanueva to release the names of the deputies who shot Kizzee. The sheriff has sometimes waited months before revealing the names of deputies involved in shootings.

Ali said Villanueva has not yet reached out to Kizzee's family. "He has met with no one," he said.

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