- An LAPD officer arrested Keenan Anderson after a possible traffic accident on January 3.
- Bodycam footage shows officers used force and tasered Anderson after he attempted to flee the scene.
- Anderson’s family lawyer says police were wrong to taser Anderson seven times.
Keenan Anderson, a 31-year-old English teacher and cousin of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, died Jan. 3 after being tasered in the back seven times and then went into cardiac arrest, according to the Department of Health. LAPD. .
The encounter between Anderson and LAPD officers took place on January 3 at around 3:38 p.m. local time in Venice, Calif., according to a police press release issued three days after the incident.
LAPD also released approximately 13 minutes of body camera footage from multiple officer perspectives and one witness video on Wednesday. A narration of the “critical incident” is provided by Captain Kelly Muñiz.
Footage appeared to show a traffic stop gone wrong in which multiple officers overpowered Anderson and used force before being taken to hospital.
Muñiz said Anderson experienced a “medical emergency” about four and a half hours after the use of force incident and died after hospital staff deployed “rescue efforts.”
According to the LAPD’s preliminary toxicology report, Anderson tested positive for cocaine and cannabis. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office is conducting an independent test.
Sarah Ardalani, public information officer for the coroner’s office, said in an email to Insider that no cause of death was determined after the autopsy.
“A medical examiner is requesting further investigation into the death, including additional studies,” she said. “Once the tests/studies come back, the doctor assesses the case again and determines the cause of death.”
In the footage, Anderson is first seen running in the middle of a street near a busy Los Angeles intersection, asking for help from an responding officer. He is heard repeating “Someone is trying to kill me” and points to a scene nearby where several cars are stopped.
When Anderson pulls into a corner, the officer notes on his radio that he is responding to a traffic accident and a possible DUI incident.
“Several citizens involved in the traffic accident waved at Anderson, indicating that he caused the accident,” the police statement said.
Throughout the initial stop, Anderson can be heard telling a story about losing his car keys and people trying to “kill him” or “put things” in his BMW. He also says he did a “stunt today” before stopping in his explanation.
An attorney for Anderson’s family, Carl Douglas, claimed in an interview with Insider that Anderson was in a state of mental crisis.
“Mr. Anderson was clearly in the midst of an emotional and mental crisis,” he said. “He was paranoid. He was talking nonsense. It was clear to a layman, and it should have been clear to a trained officer, that he was in the middle of a crisis.”
The LAPD press release noted that Anderson was “displaying erratic behavior.”
Anderson is then seen leaving the corner about seven minutes later, according to police.
Several officers quickly arrived to subdue Anderson to the ground in the middle of the street. An officer warned he would use a Taser if Anderson did not comply with orders.
Captain Kelly Muñiz recounted in the video that Anderson “became increasingly agitated, uncooperative and resisted the officers.”
An officer proceeded to taser Anderson multiple times on his back. Douglas said Anderson was tasered “seven times” around the “back of the heart”.
At a press conference Wednesday, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said his department has no “set limit” on the number of times a TASER can be used, but that officers should ” generally avoid repeated use” so as not to injure a suspect. He added that his preliminary understanding of the situation was that the officer believed the repeated TASER use resulted from Anderson’s compliance.
As Anderson was pinned to the ground, he can be heard in the video saying, “They’re trying to get George Floyd to me.” He also shouted that the officers were “actors” and that they were “trying to put him to sleep” because he “knew too much”.
In separate witness video, a bystander who identified himself as an Uber driver is heard in the background claiming Anderson caused an accident and attempted to steal his car. KNBC reported that the police department said Anderson tried to carjack someone before causing an accident.
Footage from another officer’s body camera responding to a possible collision showed three cars stopped in the middle of a street, including a gray BMW that Anderson claimed to own. An LAPD spokesperson said the department could not provide further details about the collision.
Anderson was restrained and transported to a Santa Monica hospital where he died.
Douglas told Insider he believes Anderson would be alive if he hadn’t been tasered multiple times and the officer “wrongly” activated the TASER. The attorney said his firm would file a wrongful death lawsuit against the city on behalf of Anderson’s family.
An LAPD spokesperson said the department does not comment on ongoing litigation.
“Is it really any wonder that he then went into cardiac arrest and that efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful,” Douglas said. “If he hadn’t been shocked seven times, he would still be alive today.”
Chief Moore said at the press conference that Anderson’s death was the third critical incident in the space of two days where a person has died following a clash with police.
On Jan. 2, Takar Smith, 45, was shot dead by officers after his wife called the police because he had violated her restraining order, the Los Angeles Times reported. On the day of the Anderson police encounter, Oscar Sanchez, 35, was also shot and later died in hospital, according to Fox 11.
Moore said he expedited the release of body camera footage for the three fatal incidents due to public interest.
Patrisse Cullors, Anderson’s cousin and co-founder of Black Lives Matter, wrote in an Instagram post that she believes the LAPD “killed” Anderson.
Cullors did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Cullors said Anderson was “robbed from us. He was killed.”
“The video footage was clear. He was scared, he was asking for help, he was begging for help. That’s not what he got on January 3,” she told the Post.
Douglas echoed Cullors’ sentiment and told Insider he’s dealt with similar cases.
“It’s another reflection of the challenges faced by law enforcement agencies nationwide when there is a warrior mentality that is so pervasive in modern law enforcement instead of a goalie mentality,” Douglas said.
An LAPD spokesperson declined to respond to Douglas’ statement.
Anderson was a high school English teacher, according to Cullors’ Instagram post. Douglas said Anderson leaves behind a five-year-old son.