Los Angeles police repeatedly used a stun gun on a man hours before he died at hospital, police said Wednesday.
Keenan Anderson, 31, a teacher and relative of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, went into cardiac arrest four hours after a struggle with officers on Jan. 3, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said in a news conference.
Anderson tried to run away after a car crash, and officers used force to restrain him, Moore said. He said officers were investigating whether Anderson was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Video of the incident – and two fatal police shootings – was released Wednesday by police.
“We must reduce the use of force overall, and I have absolutely no tolerance for excessive force,” Mayor Karen Bass said in a statement.
What happened during the traffic stop?
People involved in the traffic crash flagged down an officer and indicated Anderson was responsible, police said in a statement. An officer, who has not been identified, saw Anderson “running in the middle of the street and exhibiting erratic behavior.” The officer spoke with him and requested backup for a DUI investigation, according to police.
Anderson initially complied with the officer’s commands, then fled, police body camera footage and bystander cellphone video released Wednesday shows. Anderson resisted as police tried to restrain him, Moore said. At one point an officer had his elbow pressed into Anderson’s neck, video shows. At that point, Anderson was on his back on the pavement.
“They’re trying to George Floyd me,” Anderson said while calling for help.
During the struggle, the officer used the Taser on Anderson multiple times, Moore said. There is no limit on the number of times an officer can use a stun gun under the department’s policy, but officers should generally avoid repeated or simultaneous activations to avoid injuring the person they are trying to restrain, Moore said.
Anderson was eventually handcuffed, examined by fire department personnel and taken to the hospital, Moore said.
How did Keenan Anderson die?
Moore said that hours after the struggle “some manner of medical emergency occurred,” and Anderson was pronounced dead at the hospital. A preliminary toxicology report from police found cocaine and cannabis in Anderson’s body, according to Moore.
The coroner’s office has not yet ruled on the cause and manner of Anderson’s death.
“It’s unclear what role the physical struggle with the officers and the use of the Taser played in his unfortunate death,” Moore said.
Cullors said on Instagram Tuesday that her cousin “was killed by LAPD.” Black Lives Matter supporters protested outside LAPD headquarters during Moore’s news conference Wednesday.
Who was Keenan Anderson?
Cullors told The Guardian Anderson was an English teacher at the Digital Pioneers Academy, a majority-Black school in Washington, D.C.
“Keenan deserves to be alive right now, his child deserves to be raised by his father,” Cullors said on Instagram. “Keenan we will fight for you and for all of our loved ones impacted by state violence.”
Mashea Ashton, founder and CEO of Digital Pioneers Academy, confirmed Anderson’s death in a statement calling the circumstances of his death “as disturbing as they are tragic.”
“Our community is grieving. But we’re also angry,” Ashton wrote. “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.”
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