A Twitter Smear of the Sheriff’s Department Races Around the World While the Truth Is Still Tying Its Shoes
Earlier today, I saw a tweet that claimed that the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department had justified the shooting of Dijon Kizze in South Los Angeles “bc [because] Kizzee … listened to rap music.” The tweet had been retweeted by 144 Twitter accounts, including a very popular and respected Twitter account with nearly a quarter million followers. Lord knows how many people saw the tweet. But the tweet was a lie. I watched the press conference and the description in question is not just unfair. It is not just opinionated. It is appallingly dishonest. It is a smear. The tweeter, and frankly everyone who amplified this tweet, owe it to the public to correct the record.
All I can do is write this post, put it on my little-trafficked blog, and publicize it on my little-trafficked Twitter account. I’m confident the truth won’t be spread as widely as the lie has been spread, by a longshot.
Here’s the dishonest tweet in question:
This thread, on the LA Sheriff's office presser about a recent killing by sheriffs, is important to read. It is a good example of how LEOs try to aggressively shape narratives and detest oversight.
Here: justifying a shooting bc Kizzee… listened to rap music. https://t.co/6EFYbOoZRu
— John Pfaff (@JohnFPfaff) September 18, 2020
I have watched the sheriff’s press conference, and you can watch it too, here. The relevant portion begins at 14:43 and ends at 15:56. It’s barely over a minute of video you have to watch to learn that John Pfaff is completely, utterly, 100% full of shit. The person presenting the video is Kent Wegener, the Captain of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
CAPT. WEGENER: This photo shows the pistol recovered at the scene. It was a Ruger 9mm semi-automatic pistol loaded with fifteen live rounds.
CAPT. WEGENER: The final two videos were discovered on Kizzee’s cell phone and shows Dijon Kizzee armed with that same pistol a few days prior to the incident.
[Video plays of Kizzee displaying the firearm in his pocket, with a close-up of the back part of the gun including the grip and serial number.]
CAPT. WEGENER: We are able to read that serial number.
REPORTER: Is there any audio on that?
CAPT. WEGENER: There is.
REPORTER: Can you tell us what he’s saying?
CAPT. WEGENER: It’s a rap song, with a lot of F-bombs, and, uh, N-word being thrown around, so we decided not to play the audio.
That’s it, ladies and gentlemen. That is the entirety of the supposed attempt by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department “justifying a shooting bc [because] Kizzee… listened to rap music.” A Sheriff’s Captain played a video that proved that the firearm recovered at the scene had been shown in Kizzee’s possession days earlier, on a video found on Kizzee’s phone that showed the serial number. The Sheriff’s Department played the video without sound. A reporter asked if there was sound. The Captain replied there was. The reporter asked what the sound was. The Captain answered the question, indicating that they had made a decision not to play the sound on the video because it had a rap song with F-bombs and the N-word.
My question for John Pfaff and for everyone who retweeted this garbage or believed it is this: what was the Sheriff’s Department supposed to do??? Not play a video that proved that the suspect had previously possessed the exact firearm found at the scene, thus proving it was not planted? Play the video with the inflammatory rap song blaring? Refuse to answer the reporter’s question? I know you guys hate law enforcement, but do me a favor and put yourselves in the shoes of the most unfairly reviled profession in America, and tell me how you would have handled this better. Please, tell me!
It could be that John Pfaff didn’t watch the press conference and was misled by the fellow he was retweeting in this giant game of Twitter telephone: Scott Frazier, whose Twitter thread shows he did watch the press conference and live-tweeted it. Frazier’s thread is full of garbage, and I encourage the interested reader to watch the press conference and then compare what you saw with your own eyes to Frazier’s dishonest rendering of it. I will cite just one example, although I could cite many. Frazier says:
They are going on at length about pending charges Kizzee had. Irrelevant given Wagner also said the deputies didn't know who he was and only stopped him for a traffic violation.
— Scott Frazier (@safrazie) September 17, 2020
Capt. Wegener (whom Frazier calls “Wagner” for much of the thread) actually says he is not going to go through Kizzee’s rap sheet, and gives these details in response to questions. Begin at 18:06:
REPORTER: Where did he live? What was his residence?
CAPT. WEGENER: So, to say specifically where he was laying his head, I don’t have that information. I know —
REPORTER: Do you know where that video was shot?
CAPT. WEGENER: Uh, I have my suspicions but it’s not confirmed. I know that he frequented the Antelope Valley area. He had a criminal case pending out of Antelope Valley that involved an assault on deputies and bringing narcotics into the jail. That was scheduled for preliminary hearing I believe just two weeks ago. So, he was — he did have a domain up there in the Antelope Valley that he stayed at but I believe he also stayed in this neighborhood.
REPORTER: And I apologize, Captain: you spoke earlier about it, [unintelligible] — what was the felony for? What was his previous felony?
CAPT. WEGENER: Um, he’s had several. At this point I’m not going to go through his rap sheet.
REPORTER: But were they all in L.A. County or were they in other areas?
CAPT. WEGENER: They were all — all of the ones that we were concerned with were in L.A. County, and include firearms violations, narcotics violations …
Earlier in the press conference they mentioned that Kizzee was a felon and was the subject of a restraining order, and for both of those reasons he was not allowed to possess a handgun. That was the reason they mentioned those things: to establish that he was not a rightful possessor of a handgun under the Second Amendment. Scott Frazier would have you believe that they were just tossing out these facts randomly to smear Kizzee, but they established an important fact about his lack of a legal right to possess the handgun that he pulled on the deputies.
I’ll mention one more thing and then I’m done. Frazier — who keep in mind, is not John Pfaff, the original tweeter about whom I complained, but who was retweeted by Pfaff — does mention, further down his thread and in response to a question, the reason the Sheriff’s Department showed the video of him with a gun. Of course, he does so in the most tendentious manner possible:
They are videos from days prior to Kizzee’s murder, seized from his phone by police after his death, in order to build the case against him in the media.
— Scott Frazier (@safrazie) September 18, 2020
Unlike Pfaff’s original tweet mentioned at the head of this post, this is not a blatant lie. It is unfair and it is opinionated to the point of distortion, but it’s not a flat-out lie like Pfaff’s. So why do I mention it? Just to show that if Pfaff read the entire tweet thread (which he recommended, keep in mind), then he knew the real purpose of the videos even if he didn’t watch the press conference.
This was an incredible smear job. If you have read until the end, and especially if you have watched the press conference (or at least the snippets I recommended) you can see how badly the Sheriff’s Department was maligned here.
In a world where people walk up to a Sheriff’s patrol car and try to execute two deputies, in an environment where police are routinely not only smeared but dehumanized, this kind of dishonesty is not just reprehensible. It is dangerous. I hope the people who perpetrated and spread this smear will see my post and tweet and work to correct the record.
I know nobody cares about this on the day that RBG’s death made news, but I thought it was important anyway.Patterico (115b1f) — 9/18/2020 @ 8:48 pm
I appreciate it, Patterico.nk (1d9030) — 9/18/2020 @ 9:06 pm
One important thing does not preclude other important things’ existance.nate_w (5efffe) — 9/18/2020 @ 9:07 pm
Sandbox politicssteveg (43b7a5) — 9/18/2020 @ 9:25 pm
They only let you play with them when you are former GOP who really dislikes Trump. When you support law enforcement they’ll beat you like a rented mule and then shun you like the pariah you really are to them. Outside of a shared dislike of Trump they despise.
Wow, this is the first time I’ve ever seen liberals uncritically repeat smears and distortions of police work, and certainly the first time I’ve ever seen BLM inspire the execution of police officers after riots during an election year. I’m sure that this, the first time we primly demand that the habitual media promulgators of these smears be ‘more responsible’ will succeed in ways invisible to the naked eye. Perhaps Twitter’s constitutionally conservative moderators will suspend the offending accounts in accordance with a publicly-understood plain reading of their terms of service until they delete the smears? One can only hope that rhetoric will succeed….this time!Mad Craver (5b523a) — 9/18/2020 @ 9:25 pm
Too subtle, make the sarcsm more obvious please OK thanksPatterico (115b1f) — 9/18/2020 @ 9:35 pm
After minneapolis seattle portland and ny you expected something different, from the thousand currents wurlitzer. They are at war with America. No institution can atand in their way.Bolivar di griz (7404b5) — 9/18/2020 @ 9:42 pm
If it wasnt floyd it would have been arbery then or blake or lanza or this othsr upstanding citizen. The details are immaterial.Bolivar di griz (7404b5) — 9/18/2020 @ 9:51 pm
I hadn’t heard about this situation, but I always trust content from Patrerico.
Now back to my bourbon, and ignoring what a shithole our country has become.Glenn (fdfc61) — 9/18/2020 @ 10:08 pm
The prosecutor in Atlanta lied about the Wendy’s shooting. The attorneys for the family also lied. They lied about things reported by the GBI. I’ve gone around the pretzel with posters here who claim the LA Sheriff’s Department lied in the situation where the two cops got shot. This isn’t new. It’s what BLM does. It’s what the left does. It’s what the media does.
It can fill a page with examples of lies like this. Most of them have a political angle so the usual nonsense will ensue. This is the world we’ve created for ourselves.
Why is this one different for you?frosty (f27e97) — 9/18/2020 @ 10:39 pm
The other day, I was finishing a walk and the officer who lives across the street from me came home and he appeared to be in a foul mood (he works for APD, and that city is run by the usual suspects). So, I called out to him and said “Some of us do appreciate what you do”, to which he smiled and said “thanks, I appreciate that.”
One small gesture, sure, but it seems like a good time for small gestures.Kevin M (ab1c11) — 9/18/2020 @ 11:13 pm
I’m getting the idea that black (or is it now Black) criminals are thinking they have a free pass.Kevin M (ab1c11) — 9/18/2020 @ 11:15 pm
I do appreciate your post, Patterico. Keep fighting the good fight. Every little thing matters. The Truth is no small matter.felipe (023cc9) — 9/19/2020 @ 4:04 am
I don’t know why liberals do this – it only infuriates their followers more later when facts and reason overtake their lies in the court of law.
But then I remember, they don’t care about facts and reason. They want their lies to sow discord and cause violence. They want the riots now, and then later when investigations show that what they said wasn’t true.Hoi Polloi (dc4124) — 9/19/2020 @ 5:50 am
A word to the wise: When you pull that gun out of your waistband, the police don’t know that you’re only looking to ditch it. And particularly not when they’ve already spotted you, you’re running away, and they’re chasing you.nk (1d9030) — 9/19/2020 @ 5:51 am
Why not the same concern for the smearing of AG Bill Barr?Tanny O'Haley (8a06bc) — 9/19/2020 @ 6:01 am
It is great to read your comments once again, Tanny. I hope all is well with you.felipe (023cc9) — 9/19/2020 @ 6:13 am
Arbery never really had a chance to spark into the mass riot seen later in the summer, being in the cuna of the Confederacy …but it does have a fearsome ongoing “revenge served cold” black on white body count.
https://lawandcrime.com/crazy/black-man-allegedly-felt-the-need-to-stab-white-male-after-watching-police-shootings-now-hes-accused-of-killing-his-cellmate/urbanleftbehind (7e5240) — 9/19/2020 @ 6:54 am
It’s extremely important Pat.
It’s also a cautionary tale the folks should believe everything on social media.whembly (c30c83) — 9/19/2020 @ 7:05 am
This isn’t the post for that Tanny. Pat’s post here should be uncontroversial and we all should denounce these sort of things.
Bring this up on the next Barr thread (which will happen soon).whembly (c30c83) — 9/19/2020 @ 7:08 am
Did you ask Ken about it directly? If so, what did he say?lurker (d8c5bc) — 9/19/2020 @ 7:28 am
One of my creeds is that there’s never a bad time to speak truth to power or bad behavior. This was not a bad time to call out Twitter smearers. Bad timing, maybe, but not a bad time.Paul Montagu (1fbb64) — 9/19/2020 @ 7:54 am
FIFYfrosty (f27e97) — 9/19/2020 @ 7:59 am
“Too subtle, make the sarcsm more obvious please OK thanks”
‘Sharp enough to get the joke but not sharp enough to take effective action’ is a veeeeeeery bad rut to fall into, and too many commenters seem to be having a rut party:
“Now back to my bourbon, ignoring what a ****hole our country has become.”
No. That’s what we call ‘giving up’ or ‘ineffective action.’ Rather the opposite of, say, Electing Trump.
“I don’t know why liberals do this – it only infuriates their followers more later when facts and reason overtake their lies in the court of law.”
‘Why do liberals constantly repeat the tactics that got them into amazing levels of power in the 60s, why would anyone engage in state-sanctioned violence and disinformation campaigns about the people they hate, especially during a time when they can convince ‘moderate’ Democrat city councils to bust police unions and disempower their members as a voting bloc’? Why does anything happen in politics?
“My question for John Pfaff and for everyone who retweeted this garbage or believed it is this: what was the Sheriff’s Department supposed to do???”
YOU. ARE. A. LAWYER!!!! If your question to these people doesn’t start and end with “You like getting sued for slander, you slanderous mf’er?” then how are you ‘fighting the good fight?’ We already know you’re no good at bullying or joking people into submission, but the least you could do is use the non-common skills you possess in effective ways. For example:
“I hope the people who perpetrated and spread this smear will see my post and tweet and work to correct the record.”
This is NOT an uncommon skill. Everybody and their mother can do this. If you cared about this as much as you cared about, say, GETTING TRUMP, you might, I don’t know, advise on the likely legal paths to take against people who spread public misinformation, or who slander the police department, or who recklessly endanger public safety. Whatever you’re doing right now to discourage disinformation, 85 IQ Internet trolls could do as well or better by filling their timeline with images of frogs and bloodshed, which would at least force them to take time out of their busy day to obsessively clean up.Crabdance (a092cc) — 9/19/2020 @ 8:26 am
“I know nobody cares about this on the day that RBG’s death made news, but I thought it was important anyway.”
Some people can multitask. Hopefully there will be a weekend thread.harkin (536957) — 9/19/2020 @ 8:33 am
It was not only the police who heard Tatiana Drumpfelschnitzel advise them to slam handcuffed arrestee’s heads into police car doors early on in his Presidency. In New York. (For just one example out of many.) All people heard him. Distrust and hatred of the police is something the orange baboon has sown and cultivated and keeps on watering just as much as anybody else you can name.nk (1d9030) — 9/19/2020 @ 8:43 am
BLM and their fellow travelers figured out long ago that truth is not their ally. “Hands up, don’t shoot.”
Maybe the rest of us are coming around.beer ‘n pretzels (bfc036) — 9/19/2020 @ 8:46 am
so we see the method of assymetrical warfare, pfaff despite the mendacity of that long thread, honestly you have to torture the language, with a cattle prod, to reach his conclusion, is an iconoclast on criminal justice issues,bolivar de gris (7404b5) — 9/19/2020 @ 9:17 am
Do not get your news from twitter or facebook, most of the people on there don’t know what they are talking about.Nic (896fdf) — 9/19/2020 @ 9:26 am
the horse has left the burning barn, you expect the dog trainer to get it right,bolivar de gris (7404b5) — 9/19/2020 @ 9:27 am
Looking forward to our media savvy Captain pulling a Queen Elizabeth II and limoing over to the SCOTUS to view the flowers, notes and candlesleft on the SCOTUS steps. Hope the campaign plants a kid in the crowd in a MAGA hat and T-shirt to come up to him with a bouquet and utter the line, ‘These are for you.’
Watch for it.DCSCA (797bc0) — 9/19/2020 @ 9:33 am
^ Oops. Wrong thread. Apologies.DCSCA (797bc0) — 9/19/2020 @ 9:35 am
Thank you. Unfortunately Parkinson’s doesn’t get better, it just gets worse. I can still drive for which I have to take a test every year to make sure that I’m safe to drive which is fine by me. My vintage 1967 MGBGT broke at the end of last year. It took a little to save money to fix the electric overdrive and transmission. Then it took 2 1/2 months to get parts. I finally have my car back and I’m looking forward to a drive on Big Tujunga and Angeles Crest later today. My psychologist tells me driving my vintage sports car is therapeutic. Being a car guy, I’m going to agree with that. Unfortunately the IRS won’t let me write it off as a medical expense. Sigh.
Surprisingly just like people with Parkinson’s can ride a bicycle, I found out I can rollerskate which I was enjoying. Then COVID-19 shut everything down.
I’m still slogging through Joseph Story’s 1833 Commentaries on the Constitution. It’s only 900 pages in three volumes. After being at a church for 40 years I finally changed to a different church 2 1/2 years ago. I’m looking forward to when California will allow us to have in building services.
Since Parkinson’s affects fine motor movements it is still difficult for me to type. I use Siri dictation and then make corrections.
I have good days, and bad days.Tanny O'Haley (8a06bc) — 9/19/2020 @ 10:33 am
I say this with the greatest respect that you are due: your enthusiasm far outstrips your knowledge. If I were a First Amendment lawyer (which I am not, but I know plenty about it) I would advise anyone considering suing Pfaff that he is likely to end up wasting a bunch of money, time, and energy pursuing pointless litigation that will have little effect other than to possibly enrich Pfaff’s lawyers at the expense of the good people foolishly considering such litigation.
You are clearly from the crowd that is not content to simply vigorously criticize wrongheaded public commentary; you want to blunder into a series of wrongheaded and staggeringly silly legal measures like passing laws and regulations and filing lawsuits. This attitude is part of the problem in society, not the cure. In our society, which respects the First Amendment, the way to respond is with more speech, as I have done here, and not with a bunch of stupid legal measures. Frankly, your anger is more powerful than your legal acumen, so you rage at me in blog comments with occasional words in all caps, and feel that you have thereby done your part for society. Golf clap for you.Patterico (115b1f) — 9/19/2020 @ 11:07 am
Probably because he is not being smeared? Because he is a soulless troll who deserves every speck of public opprobrium flung at him, and then some?
That might be the reason.
Nice to see you, Tanny. Hope you’re doing well.Patterico (115b1f) — 9/19/2020 @ 11:14 am
I have said everything I am going to say. I cc’d him on a tweet to Pfaff that called Pfaff’s claim a despicable lie and explained why. So he ought to be aware of my position and the evidence backing it up, and I am going to leave it there. I cannot control other people. I can control only what I say and how I react.Patterico (115b1f) — 9/19/2020 @ 11:17 am
Thanks for answering. I’m glad you cc’d him. I’m a big fan of Ken’s, but we all have our blind spots, and that’s his.lurker (d8c5bc) — 9/19/2020 @ 11:33 am
I am increasing happy I only squat on my twitter account to prevent someone from confusing my friends.Kevin M (ab1c11) — 9/19/2020 @ 10:50 pm
37. (That looks like I think Ken has only one blind spot. Nuh uh. Like I said, I’m a big fan, but his self-awareness is far from flawless.)lurker (d8c5bc) — 9/20/2020 @ 5:00 am
Tanny O’Haley (8a06bc) — 9/19/2020 @ 10:33 am
I have started including you, by name, in my daily prayers and I join them to yours – for your spiritual, mental, and physical well-being.felipe (023cc9) — 9/20/2020 @ 5:22 am
Patterico (115b1f) — 9/19/2020 @ 11:07 am
That was masterful.felipe (023cc9) — 9/20/2020 @ 5:26 am
Kevin M (ab1c11) — 9/19/2020 @ 10:50 pm
I squat on FB for the same reason.felipe (023cc9) — 9/20/2020 @ 5:26 am
I smile at your keen self-awareness, but you provided your readers with an aorism* (bolded mine).
So I read your comment this way:
* [for nk et alii] I use “aorism” for lack of a better word, to mean: A word or phrase that points to a deeper meaning than is conveyed by a plain-reading of the text. E.G. “In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Where, grammatically, the word “name” should be “names,” but as an aorism, “name” points to the Mystery of the Trinity. Three persons, one God.felipe (023cc9) — 9/20/2020 @ 5:47 am
pfaff wanted to create a firestorm, like that in the arbery, floyd blake lanza was the last one, seems to be a dry match, but you never can tell,bolivar de gris (7404b5) — 9/20/2020 @ 6:39 am
If we could count on everyone to read as carefully and generously as you, the Internet would be a better place.lurker (d8c5bc) — 9/20/2020 @ 8:14 am
All that his criminal record, and his listening to bad rap songs that demean people, mean is that other bad things about him were more likely to be true, but the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department was not resting its case on that!
It is relevant. And some of that was actually extracted under questioning by somebody who knew. Somebody didn’t want those things to be known (or repeated) because omitting it would make more believable the claim that Angeles Sheriff’s Department was lying – which even if it hasn’t been made is where they are going.
Sometimes police departments, which are all too human, lie or conceal facts about a death, as in Rochester, New York. But not always.
There is an active campaign going on for several years against policing. I received a piece of mail from The Nation magazine offering me a subscription at $10 for a year that contained this paragraph
That’s a real mixed bag. It picks out a few things that might more or less make sense (no questions asked methadone let’s say) and includes things that obviously will not work, (completely decriminalize domestic violence) and, for those things for which they have no non-police answer, good or bad, well it ignores them.Sammy Finkelman (7c54bd) — 9/20/2020 @ 8:34 pm