Los Angeles police are facing scrutiny following the in-custody death of a cousin of a key figure in the Black Lives Matter movement. Keenan Anderson, a 31-year-old Washington school teacher who was visiting Los Angeles,hours after officers repeatedly shocked him with a Taser.
Police said that when they arrived at the scene of a traffic accident on Jan. 3, in the L.A. neighborhood of Venice, they found Anderson running into the street and exhibiting “erratic behavior.”
The release Wednesday of dramatic body-camera footage of the incident has sparked angry demands for greater accountability by a police force that has faced past accusations of needless brutality.
In the footage, Anderson is seen lying on a pavement, held down by officers as another repeatedly shouts, “Turn over or I’m gonna Tase you” and “Stop it or I’m gonna Tase you!”
A clearly agitated Anderson shouts back, “They’re trying to George Floyd me… 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 L.A. so far this year — sparked angry reaction.
Mayor Karen Bass demanded the immediate suspension of the police officers involved, pending the outcome of an investigation.
And Rep. Barbara Lee of California tweeted: “I am outraged and heartbroken for Keenan… senselessly murdered by the police.”
She called for “systemic reform.”
In a video statement before the bodycam footage, LAPD Capt. Kelly Muniz, a spokeswoman, said investigations into officers’ use of force can often take up to a year to complete.
“Our understanding of the incident may change as…additional evidence is collected, analyzed and reviewed,” Muniz said.
Anderson’s cousin Patrisse Cullors co-founded the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 amid outrage over the videotaped killing in Minneapolis of Floyd, a Black man, under the knee of a White police officer.
Anderson, who was eventually handcuffed and shackled, was taken to a hospital and died four hours later.
No cause of death has been officially established.
A statement from LAPD said Anderson had resisted arrest.
“Officers struggled with Anderson for several minutes, utilizing a TASER, bodyweight, 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 was asking for help repeatedly, and unfortunately that’s not what he received from LAPD,” Cullors told the Los Angeles Times. “Why wasn’t there help? Why wasn’t my cousin offered medical attention” at the scene.