A 31-year-old Black father and high school English teacher died after being Tasered by Los Angeles police shortly after a traffic accident. A candlelight vigil will be held later Saturday evening.
On the afternoon of Jan. 3, 2023, Keenan Anderson died at a hospital in Santa Monica. Hours earlier that same day, he flagged down a motorcycle cop with the LAPD after a car crash and asked for help.
Things quickly spiraled from there.
On Wednesday, the department released an edited, nearly-20-minute long video that includes various officer body-worn camera footage of the interaction between Anderson and numerous LAPD officers – as well as one cellphone video captured by a witness.
“Yeah, I see it up here,” the officer on the motorcycle says in the first clip featured on the video.
“Please help me,” Anderson says to the officer immediately after, while jogging alongside the officer in the road in Venice.
“I see it,” the officer says. “Where are you at?”
Anderson then points to an intersection. The officer speeds away in that direction and interacts with another man on the street. Captions on the video describe the initial interaction between the motorcycle cop and the second man as “unintelligible.” The officer stops and asks: “He’s the driver?” The second man points toward Anderson and responds: “This guy.” The officer speeds back toward Anderson.
“Get off to the side here,” the officer yells.
“Somebody’s trying to kill me,” Anderson replies.
“Get on the street,” the officer insists.
“Somebody’s trying to kill me, sir,” Anderson says again – while placing his hands behind his back and stepping onto the sidewalk.
“Hey, stop right there,” the officer says to Anderson, who raises his hands in the air. “Get up against the wall.”
As the interaction unfolds, Anderson kneels on the ground and tells the officer that he lost the key to his car after having someone come and repair it. Asked by the officer to sit down, Anderson complies and then repeats his belief that someone is trying to kill him. Asked to explain, Anderson says he “had a stunt” earlier which prompts additional questions from the officer. Anderson also expresses fear that someone is going to try and “add stuff” to his car.
After the six-minute mark, the first clip cuts out and a title card reads: “Approximately 7 minutes later, Anderson attempted to run away.”
As the video resumes, Anderson rises and asks the officer for water. In the footage, the officer says he’ll get water some water “in a second.” Then, Anderson expresses his desire to be somewhere where people can see him. The officer indicates he can sit closer to the intersection if he wants to be seen. A woman’s voice calls out: “We’re all watching you, okay?”
“You’re putting a thing on me,” Anderson says. “You’re making me hot.” The officer says he’s not doing that.
During this time, Anderson repeatedly says “please” and “please, sir” as the officer repeatedly asks him to sit back down and come closer.
Eventually, Anderson runs away from the police officer across the intersection.
The officer gets back on his motorcycle, drives over, and shouts at Anderson to turn onto his stomach in the middle of the street. Anderson has his hands raised and inches towards turning over before quickly sitting up again with his hands raised. Two other LAPD officers then arrive and enter the frame of the first officer’s camera in quick succession. The three officers work to force Anderson into a prone position.
During the ensuing struggle, Anderson begs with the officers to stop, while continuing to appear to resist. The motorcycle cop tells him twice to “relax.”
“Please, help me, please,” Anderson screams over as the altercation continues. “They’re trying to kill me. Please.” Anderson does not specify who is trying to kill him when he first made the comment to the responding offer nor at any point during the altercation
The video then cut to what the LAPD identifies as body worn footage from “another officer who responded to this incident.”
In the third clip, the second officer repeatedly threatens to use a Taser on Anderson unless he complies with their instructions. First, he warned Anderson to “stop” or he will be tased, as he resists being placed on his stomach. Then, when Anderson was on his back and struggling with officers trying to hold him down – one pressing his elbow into Anderson’s neck and chest, another holding onto Anderson’s arm – the second officer repeatedly said: “Turn over or I’m-a tase you.”
“I can’t,” he groans as officers try to turn him on his stomach. As he’s forced onto his stomach, Anderson says, “They’re trying to George Floyd me. They’re trying to George Floyd me.”
The Taser is first engaged at the 10:13 mark in the video and the sound of the weapon being used continues for roughly seven seconds, with a very slight pause in between the first and second activations.
Less than a second later, Anderson is tased again for roughly six seconds. A slightly longer pause is followed by the officer tasing him again for roughly another five seconds. Anderson continues to appear to struggle with officers before he’s tased again for an additional five seconds.
“Do not move, or else I’m going to Tase you again,” the officer tells Anderson in the video. After multiple instructions to stop resisting, Anderson is tased for the sixth time – for roughly another five seconds – the final time in the video provided by the LAPD.
According to the Police Executive Research Forum, an independent research group made up of police chiefs from most of the country’s largest police departments – including LAPD Chief Michel Moore – people should not be exposed to an Electronic Control Weapon, such as a Taser-branded stun gun, for more than 15 seconds total.
“Personnel should be trained to use an ECW for one standard cycle (five seconds) and then evaluate the situation to determine if subsequent cycles are necessary,” guidelines issued in 2011 say. “Training protocols should emphasize that multiple applications or continuous cycling of an ECW resulting in an exposure longer than 15 seconds (whether continuous or cumulative) may increase the risk of serious injury or death and should be avoided.”
The 15-second rule is mentioned three additional times:
Personnel should use an ECW for one standard cycle (five seconds) and then evaluate the situation to determine if subsequent cycles are necessary. Personnel should consider that exposure to the ECW for longer than 15 seconds (whether due to multiple applications or continuous cycling) may increase the risk of death or serious injury. Any subsequent applications should be independently justifiable, and the risks should be weighed against other force options.
All subjects who have been exposed to ECW application should receive a medical evaluation by emergency medical responders in the field or at a medical facility. Subjects who have been exposed to prolonged application (i.e., more than 15 seconds) should be transported to an emergency department for evaluation. Personnel conducting the medical evaluation should be made aware that the suspect has experienced ECW activation, so they can better evaluate the need for further medical treatment.
Agencies should initiate force investigations when any of the following factors is involved: … A subject experiences prolonged ECW application (longer than 15 seconds)
Anderson was pronounced dead some four hours after the use of force.
In a statement to local Fox affiliate KTTV, the LAPD said Anderson died after going into cardiac arrest. According to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office, his cause of death is currently “deferred,” which means a result is “pending additional investigation.”
“Officers struggled with Anderson for several minutes, utilizing a TASER, bodyweight, firm grips, and joint locks to overcome resistance,” the LAPD told the TV station in a statement.
In the final moments of the video, Los Angeles firefighters can be seen rendering medical attention after Anderson is shackled.
Patrisse Cullors, the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, first publicized Anderson’s death last Sunday, identifying the deceased man as her cousin in a post on Instagram.
“Keenan deserves to be alive right now, his child deserves to be raised by his father,” she wrote. “Keenan, we will fight for you and for all of our loved ones impacted by state violence. I love you.”
In a news conference on Wednesday, Moore described Anderson’s behavior as “erratic” and claimed that a preliminary blood test found cannabis and cocaine present in the deceased man’s system.
During that press conference, Moore said the officer Tased Anderson six times total over 42 seconds.
In the cellphone clip contained in the video, an unidentified person off-camera says that Anderson “caused that accident” and was trying to steal a car. Moore referenced those two allegations against the deceased man at the press conference as well.
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and several city council members issued statements critical of the LAPD following the video’s release.
Law&Crime reached out to Black Lives Matter and the LAPD but no responses were immediately forthcoming.
A GoFundMe for funeral and memorial expenses remembers Anderson fondly: “Anyone who knew Keenan knew he was full of life and would brighten up a room with his smile.”
[image via screengrab/LAPD]
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