A 31-year-old English teacher died from cardiac arrest last week after he was repeatedly tased by police. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, this is the third officer-involved death in the city this year alone. Police had encountered Keenan Anderson, who is a cousin of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, on January 3rd at the site of a traffic coalition in an LA neighborhood. According to police, they struggled to arrest Anderson and repeatedly tased him, which is shown in the body-worn camera footage that was released by police. After being arrested, Anderson was taken to a local hospital where he went into cardiac arrest and was then pronounced dead.
Cullors decided to release an Instagram tribute post to his cousin saying that he was “killed by LAPD.”
“Keenan deserves to be alive right now, his child deserves to be raised by his father,” Cullors wrote in the tribute post. “Keenan we will fight for you and for all of our loved ones impacted by state violence. I love you.”
Anderson was a 10th-grade English teacher at Digital Pioneers Academy in Washington D.C. according to a statement from school founder Mashea Ashton. The teacher was visiting family in Los Angeles over winter break.
Keenan Anderson Dead After Being Tased
Video of the incident shows Anderson running in the middle of the streets while exhibiting several erratic behaviors. One of the officers’ cameras shows a woman at the traffic coalition site telling police, “I think that the guy up there needs help though, because the guys are trying to run away.” The body camera video then shows Anderson initially stopping and speaking to an officer before the video then cuts out to a text screen saying that Anderson had “attempted to run away.” When the video once again resumes, Anderson is seen jogging into the street as officers pursue him and stop at a busy intersection, commanding him to lie down on his stomach.
Anderson doesn’t seem to comply immediately as two more officers arrive and move him to lie prone on his stomach on the street telling him “relax.” As officers are struggling on top of him, the teacher can be heard screaming “Help, they’re trying to kill me” and “Please, don’t do this.”
Another footage from the responding officer also shows Anderson on the ground and one officer can be heard repeatedly warning Anderson to stop resisting and turn over, as he threatens him several times with a taser.
“They’re trying to George Floyd me,” Anderson said as officers tried to roll him onto his stomach. That’s when an officer deployed a taser several times on Anderson, who said “I’m not resisting.” Officers eventually handcuffed and placed ankle hobbles on Anderson, as one can see in the video.
Body Camera Shows Altercation
Anderson is later seen being placed onto a gurney near an ambulance by the Los Angeles Fire Department and was given Medical Care at the scene by fire department personnel before he was transported to a local hospital.
“While at the hospital, Anderson went into cardiac arrest and was pronounced deceased,” the press release says. Los Angeles police captain Kelly Muñiz Stated in the video that Anderson died approximately four and a half hours after the confrontation. A preliminary toxicology blood screen of Anderson’s blood samples had tested positive for cocaine and marijuana, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office.
“The details of his death are as disturbing as they are tragic,” Ashton said in the statement, adding. “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 continued.