The death of Keenan Anderson, a cousin of Black Lives Matter co-founder Keenan Anderson, has sparked renewed scrutiny of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). He was repeatedly Tasered by an English teacher before being arrested, which has led to an outcry in the United States.
In the footage from police body cameras, it can be heard that Anderson, 31, is referring to the mass protests sparked by the racial justice protests around the world in 2020, specifically in relation to the killing of George Floyd by the police, saying “They’re attempting to bring justice for George Floyd.”
Anderson is about to use a Taser on him, one of the officers then states. He is lying on the pavement with officers restraining him as police instruct Anderson to “cease resisting” in the video, dated January 3 and made public this week.
Anderson later died in the hospital after pleading with officers and asking them to help him, as he cried out in agony when they deployed a Taser. They are attempting to kill me. They are attempting to kill me.
The event is one of three homicides connected to the LAPD in the initial days of 2023.
Smith, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and was not taking his prescribed medications, was initially reported to emergency services by his wife due to Smith’s violation of a restraining order. Subsequently, on January 2, the police fatally shot Takar Smith, a 45-year-old individual, while they claimed he was wielding a knife.
On January 3, police fired at 35-year-old Oscar Sanchez after the LAPD stated that he confronted officers with an improvised spear, which occurred on the same day as Anderson’s demise.
On Wednesday, Chief Michel Moore expressed his “profound worry” as the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) made public the body camera footage from all three occurrences.
The murder of Smith was determined to be a result of gunshot wounds, nevertheless, investigations are still ongoing into the fatalities of Anderson and Sanchez.
Police captain Kelly Muniz stated in a video declaration accompanying the body camera footage, “We are currently in the initial phases of this inquiry, which frequently requires around twelve months to finalize.”
We will not draw any conclusions about whether the law enforcement officers acted consistently in the investigation until we have completed reviewing, analyzing, and gathering all the facts. Our understanding of the incident may also be altered as we review additional evidence.
However, the three fatalities have already sparked inquiries regarding police brutality in the United States and its unequal impact on Black communities.
According to a study published in the medical journal Lancet in 2021, more than half of the deaths caused by police violence across the country between 1980 and 2018 were not reported by the government-run system. The estimates provided by the National Vital Statistics in the US were significantly lower than the actual numbers, with recorded police violence deaths reaching 30,800, far higher than the official figures.
The study also found that fatal police brutality was most widespread among the non-Hispanic Black population, followed by the Hispanic community.
Patrisse Cullors, who is Anderson’s cousin, expressed on Instagram that “his offspring should be nurtured by his paternal figure,” and Keenan should currently be living. Cullors, an author and advocate, is acknowledged for originating the hashtag Black Lives Matter and assuming a prominent role in the movement.
“Keenan,” she continued, “we will fight for you and for all of our loved ones impacted by state violence. I love you.”.
The school in Washington, DC, known as Digital Pioneers Academy, where Anderson was employed, also advocated for justice for the “dedicated educator”.
“In the previous 65 days, Keenan has become the third individual from our educational institution to experience the detrimental effects of violence,” expressed Mashea Ashton, the founder and CEO of our school, in an official statement. “In separate occurrences of firearm-related violence that took place this autumn, two of our students attending high school, namely Antione Manning, aged 14, and Jakhi Snider, aged 15, tragically lost their lives.”
Our community is grieving, as we have lost another beautiful, talented soul who was loved and respected as a member of our community. Although we are angry, we also recognize the impact this individual had on our community once again.
In November, Karen Bass, a doctor and former member of the US Congress, was chosen as the inaugural African American female mayor of Los Angeles, the largest city in California.
In the wake of the recent deaths, she said that she had grave concerns about the released police footage, and called on the LAPD to accelerate the implementation of proven reforms to address the excessive use of force and improve mental health treatment.
In a declaration, Bass stated, ‘I possess absolutely zero tolerance for extreme force,’ and overall, we must decrease the utilization of force. Nevertheless, the necessity for immediate alteration is evident, regardless of the conclusions of these investigations.
We must also lead our city forward on the crisis of mental health that has been allowed to grow and fester, causing much harm to individual Angelenos and their communities and families.
The police said that the incident with Anderson started at around 3:35pm local time on January 3rd, when a traffic officer flagged down motorists involved in a collision on Venice Boulevard, indicating that Anderson was the cause of the crash.
Muniz, the police captain, stated in a video message, “The individual was sprinting in the midst of the road and displaying unpredictable conduct.”
“Somebody’s trying to kill me, sir,” Anderson can be heard saying in the body camera footage, as he jogs through an intersection.
Anderson obeys, moving onto the pavement and crouching, with his hands firmly pressed against the back of his skull. In the footage, a law enforcement officer seated on a motorbike instructs Anderson to “stand against the wall”.
He repeatedly expresses his fear that his life is over and informs the officer that he lost the key to his car, pleading, “Sir, I didn’t mean to, sir. Please.”
Anderson presents a second piece of footage, showing the officer reentering the road where the motorcycle had fallen, getting back up, and complying by sitting with his hands in the air and legs forward.
A number of officers subsequently advance to restrain Anderson. “Please refrain from doing this,” he utters. “They’re attempting to eliminate me.”
It is at that moment that law enforcement officers threaten to utilize a Taser.
“Cease your actions or I will deploy a taser on you,” a law enforcement officer can be heard uttering.
In the statement that accompanies the video from the body camera, Muniz mentioned that Anderson had become “increasingly irritated, noncompliant, and resistant to the officers”.
The footage shows a police officer continuously deploying a Taser on Anderson as he lies on his back, while other law enforcement officials proceed to secure handcuffs on him.
In the evening, Anderson was pronounced deceased at around 8:15pm (4:15 GMT) at a Santa Monica medical center, where he was transported by an ambulance provided by the Los Angeles Fire Department, who provided medical assistance at the location.