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Family of Black Schoolteacher Sues Los Angeles Police Department for Wrongful Death

— January 21, 2023

Keenan Anderson died after being repeatedly tased by Los Angeles Police Department officers. The Washington, D.C., resident had fled the scene of a felony hit-and-run and ignored repeated police commands to remain calm.

The family of a Black man schoolteacher died after being repeatedly tased by Los Angeles officers has filed a lawsuit against the city and its police department.

According to the B.B.C., the Los Angeles Police Department recently released footage showing 31-year-old teacher Keenan Anderson “begging for his life” and shouting that officers were trying to “George Floyd me.”

Local law enforcement officials say that Anderson was arrested after he attempted to flee the scene of a nearby car crash.

Benjamin Crump, a well-known civil rights attorney representing the Anderson family in the lawsuit, said that the lawsuit could set an important precedent preventing further police killings.

Speaking at a press conference, Crump said that the Los Angeles Police Department “want[s] to push this under the rug like they want to do to all the young people they unjustly kill.”

Crump then asked why de-escalation tactics appear reserved “only for White people.”

“Why don’t you engage Black men with dignity and humanity?” Crump asked.

Anderson, notes the B.B.C., was arrested on 3 January in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles. He had been visiting family for the holidays.

Police were called to the scene of an accident involving Anderson, which was described as a “felony hit-and-run.” Officers alleged that Anderson attempted to carjack a motorist, then caused a crash.

Body-camera footage shows Anderson appearing distressed when officers first approached him, saying that “somebody is trying to kill me.”

Handcuffs and key sitting on fingerprint card; image by Bill Oxford, via
Image by Bill Oxford, via

After a motorcycle officer instructed him to “get up against the wall,” Anderson began apologizing, responding that he “didn’t mean to. I’m sorry.”

When officers tried to move Anderson toward the wall, he began actively resisting arrest and moving toward the road, asking police to place him in a location where other people could see him.

Officers eventually used a stun gun to subdue Anderson, tasing him for an estimated 30 seconds.

Anderson, adds the B.B.C., had been repeatedly warned that he would be tased if he did not stop resisting arrest.

While Anderson was taken to the hospital for a medical evaluation, he went into cardiac arrest and died several hours later.

A toxicology report issued by the Los Angeles Police Department showed that Anderson had both cannabis and cocaine in his bloodstream at the time of his death.

Crump has since said that he wants the federal Department of Justice to investigate Anderson’s death.

Keenan’s surviving sister, Dominique Anderson, also hosted a rally, in which she and others called for justice.

“If you continue to blame the victim and not hold officers accountable, why would they ever stop killing us?” Anderson asked. “The police are supposed to be here to protect and serve the people, and yet they abuse their authority and have a lack of respect for human life.”

“He also deserves to be hugging his son, but instead his son is left fatherless because of a chance encounter with L.A.P.D. taking Keenan’s life,” Anderson added.


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