A Black father and high school teacher died of cardiac arrest last week after he was repeatedly Tased by a Los Angeles police officer following a car accident.
Keenan Anderson, 31, a cousin of the co-founder of Black Lives Matter Patrisse Cullors, says Anderson flagged down police to ask for help. She announced his death on social media on Jan. 3.
“He was killed by LAPD in Venice,” Cullors wrote on Instagram.
“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,” she wrote.
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The Guardian reports that police arrived on the scene of a car accident at around 3:30 PM. LAPD body camera footage shows Anderson asking for help. An officer told him to sit on the sidewalk and then to “get up against the wall.” Anderson obeyed the officer’s demands, but then attempted to flee the scene. One of the officers chased him on a motorcycle.
The officer yelled at Anderson to “get down to the ground.”
Anderson repeatedly begged, “Please help me,” and, “They’re trying to kill me,” as multiple officers held him down. One officer put his elbow and full body on Anderson’s neck while he was on his back. An officer standing above Anderson shouted, “Turn over, or I’m going to Tase you.”
During the tasing, Anderson repeatedly said, “Help me,” as the officer told him to stop resisting.
Paramedics arrived on the scene and took Anderson to a local hospital, where he went into cardiac arrest and died four hours later.
Warning: Video shows graphic violence.
Anderson taught 10th grade English at Digital Pioneers Academy in Washington, D.C., CNN reports.
“The details of his death are as disturbing as they are tragic,” said Mashea Ashton, founder of the school where Anderson taught.
“Keenan was a deeply committed educator and father of a six-year-old son. … He was beloved by all. … 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,” Ashton added.
During a news conference on Wednesday, Police Chief Michel Moore said Anderson had committed a felony hit-and-run and attempted to "get into another person's car without their permission."
According to NBC News, Kelly Muñiz, a police spokesperson, announced during the news conference that the department’s toxicology report found cocaine metabolite and cannabinoids in Anderson’s bloodstream. The Los Angeles County coroner’s office has not released a cause of death.
"Our family can never know what truly happened that day, because we weren’t there. What we do know is that Keenan was in a supposed accident and he asked for help, and in that process, he died," Cullors told NBC News. "How did this result in his death?"
Anderson’s was the third death in Los Angeles at the hands of police in 2023.
“It was a traffic accident. Instead of treating him like a potential criminal, police should have called the ambulance,” Cullors told The Guardian. “If there was a policy in which traffic stops were met with unarmed professionals who come to the scene to help with whatever situation has happened, that would have prevented my cousin’s death. And that would have prevented so many other deaths.”
“These types of killings and this type of force will not be interrupted unless we have courageous elected officials come forward and challenge not just the police, but also the policies.”