Another Black man has died after being tased seven times by police from the LAPD while being detained for his involvement in a traffic accident.
Keenan Anderson, 31, died on Jan. 3, of cardiac arrest nearly four-and-a-half hours after being forcibly restrained by officers from the Los Angeles Police Department.
Anderson was an educator and father of a six-year-old son named Syncere. He lived and worked in Washington D.C. at Digital Pioneers Academy. He taught English to high school sophomores at the charter school but was in his native Los Angeles visiting family when his death occurred.
Anderson was the cousin of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who called for justice for him in an Instagram post.
“This is my cousin Keenan Anderson. He was killed by LAPD in Venice on January 3rd, 2023. My cousin was an educator and worked with high school aged children. He was an English teacher,” Cullors wrote in the caption of a photo she posted of Anderson. “LAPD has killed three people this year. One of them is my family member.”
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“Keenan deserves to be alive right now, his child deserves to be raised by his father. Keenan we will fight for you and for all of our loved ones impacted by state violence,” Cullors continued.
Body camera footage shows Anderson repeatedly asking officers for help and pleading with them not to harm him. At one point during the arrest, Anderson yells twice, “They’re trying to George Floyd me!”
In the footage, Anderson seems to exhibit paranoid and erratic behavior. He addresses the initial officer on the scene as sir, says someone is trying to kill him and tells the officer, “I didn’t mean to” several times. He also complies with the officer’s instructions to sit down.
“Please. Please, sir, I didn’t mean to, sir. Please. Please. I’m sorry,” Anderson says in the video.
The footage further shows when other officers begin arriving on the scene, Anderson gets increasingly nervous and runs down the street.
Anderson eventually stops and gets down on the ground, but when officers attempt to detain him, he becomes more frantic, repeats they are trying to kill him and tries to get up.
“Please, sir, don’t do this,” Anderson says in the video. “Please, help me, please. … They’re trying to kill me. Please, please, please, please, please, please.”
At one point, Anderson also says the police are “actors.” One officer tells him to stop resisting or he will tase him, which he proceeds to do – repeatedly. The officer continues tasing Anderson even after he is restrained and poses no threat.
Anderson is the third person to die in two days during an officer-involved incident with the LAPD. Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore held a news conference on Wednesday, Jan. 11, to address the fatal incidents.
“The investigation would reveal that Anderson had committed a felony hit and run when he caused the traffic collision and then attempted to flee from the location,” Moore said during the conference.
Police spokesperson Kelly Muniz also said a toxicology report by the LAPD shows Anderson tested positive for cocaine metabolite and cannabinoids.
Cullors told NBC News a different story, saying her cousin flagged the police down for help, but “not a single time did any of the responding officers listen to him.”
Digital Pioneers founder Mashea Ashton spoke highly of Anderson.
“Keenan was a deeply committed educator and father of a six-year-old son. He had over eight years of experience as a teacher and leader,” Ashton said in a statement about Anderson on the school’s website. “In less than six months at Digital Pioneers Academy, he established strong relationships with scholars and staff. He was beloved by all.”
“The details of his death are as disturbing as they are tragic,” the statement said. “Our community is grieving. But we’re also angry. Angry that, once again, a known, loved, and respected member of our community is no longer with us. Angry that another talented, beautiful black soul is gone too soon.”
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said she has “grave concerns about the deeply disturbing tapes” of Anderson and the other two men who died after being confronted by the LAPD.
“No matter what these investigations determine, however, the need for urgent change is clear,” Bass said in a statement. “We must reduce the use of force overall, and I have absolutely no tolerance for excessive force. We must also lead our city forward – finally – on the mental health crisis that has been allowed to grow, fester and cause so much harm to individual Angelenos, their families and our communities.”
Anderson’s death has also sparked outrage on social media with renewed calls for police accountability when people die after being subjected to their use of force. Many pointed out that Anderson was in apparent mental distress.
“Yet it is clear that he is in distress. It is clear that there’s a mental break. What’s also clear is no mental health professional was called which is a new program for L.A. PD It’s clear that he is dead now,” @ThePrize5 tweeted.
“I’m not reposting or sharing the video of Keenan Anderson. It’s too traumatizing to constantly see my people being murdered and tortured to death at the hands of the police,” Former NBA player Etan Thomas wrote. “But something needs to be done b/c it has been a commonplace police practice for far too long.”
“White gunman kills 10 Black people in Buffalo and is peacefully arrested. Black man in a traffic accident is forcefully restrained and tased to death. When you stop killing us for sport, I’ll stop calling out your racist hypocrisy. #KeenanAnderson,” California State Rep. Sydney Kamlager tweeted.
“They used clear force, which was excessive. They tasered him, not one, not two, not three, not five, but seven times,” civil rights attorney Carl Douglass said in the clip of at a news conference that was shared on Twitter. “Seven times that 50,000 watts of electrical energy was sent coursing through his body; so is it really any wonder that after seven times of being shocked with a taser Mr. Anderson’s heart could not withstand that trauma and four and a half hours later he was pronounced dead.”
A GoFundMe campaign for Anderson’s son has raised 23,132 at the time of this writing.
Here are a few more reactions from Twitter.