The Los Angeles Police Department is under scrutiny after the death in custody of a cousin of a key figure in the Black Lives Matter movement. Keenan Anderson, a 31-year-old teacher from Washington who was visiting Los Angeles, died hours early this month after officers repeatedly tasered him.
Police said when they arrived at the scene of a January 3 traffic accident in the LA neighborhood of Venice, they saw Anderson running into the street displaying “erratic behavior.”
Wednesday’s release of dramatic body camera footage of the incident has sparked angry demands for greater accountability from a police force that has faced allegations of needless brutality in the past.
In the footage, Anderson can be seen lying on a sidewalk, held down by officers while another yells repeatedly, “Turn around or I’m going to tase you” and “Stop it or I’m going to tase you!”
An obviously agitated Anderson yells back, “They’re trying to make me George Floyd… They’re trying to kill me” and “Help, please – I’m not resisting, I’m not resisting.”
Anderson’s death – he was the third person to die in police custody in LA so far this year – sparked outrage.
Mayor Karen Bass demanded the immediate suspension of the police officers involved, pending the outcome of an investigation.
And Representative Barbara Lee of California tweeted: “I am outraged and heartbroken for Keenan…killed senseless by the police.”
She called for “systemic reforms.”
In a video statement ahead of the bodycam footage, LAPD Capt. Kelly Muniz, a spokeswoman, said that investigations into the use of force by officers can often take up to a year.
“Our understanding of the incident may change as … additional evidence is gathered, analyzed and assessed,” Muniz said.
Anderson’s cousin Patrisse Cullors co-founded the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 amid outrage over the videotaped murder in Minneapolis of Floyd, a black man, at the knee of a white police officer.
Anderson, who was eventually handcuffed and handcuffed, was taken to a hospital and died four hours later.
No cause of death has been officially determined.
A statement from the LAPD said Anderson had resisted his arrest.
“Officers wrestled Anderson for several minutes, using a TASER, body weight, firm grips and joint locks to overcome his resistance,” it said.
But Cullors and others questioned that version of events.
“My cousin, Keenan, was actually really scared and he repeatedly asked for help, and unfortunately he didn’t get it from the LAPD,” Cullors told the Los Angeles Times. “Why was there no help? Why didn’t my cousin get medical help on the spot?
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