- An LAPD officer detained Keenan Anderson after a possible traffic collision on January 3.
- Bodycam footage shows officers used force and electrocuted Anderson after he tried to flee the scene.
- Anderson’s family’s attorney says the police made a mistake by electrocuting Anderson seven times.
Keenan Anderson, a 31-year-old English teacher and cousin of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, died on January 3 after being electrocuted seven times in the back and later going into cardiac arrest, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
According to a police press release that was released three days after the incident, a meeting between Anderson and LAPD officers took place around 3:38 p.m. local time in Venice, California on January 3.
The LAPD also released about 13 minutes of body cam footage from multiple officers’ perspectives and one witness video on Wednesday. The “critical incident” narrative is presented by Captain Kelly Muñiz.
The footage appeared to show a failed traffic stop, during which multiple officers overpowered Anderson and used force before he was transported to the hospital.
Muñiz recounted that Anderson experienced a “medical emergency” about four and a half hours after the violent incident and died after “life-saving efforts” were made by hospital staff.
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, the public information officer at the coroner’s office, said in an email to Insider that the cause of death was not determined after an autopsy.
“The medical examiner requests further investigation into the death, including additional tests,” she said. “After the return of the tests/tests, the doctor re-evaluates the case and determines the cause of death.”
The video shows Anderson running for the first time in the middle of the street near a busy intersection in Los Angeles, asking for help from an officer. He can be heard repeating, “Someone is trying to kill me,” and points to a nearby stage where many cars stop.
As Anderson pulls to a corner, the officer notices on his radio that he is responding to a traffic collision and a possible drunken incident.
“Several of the citizens involved in the traffic collision approached Anderson, indicating that he was the one who caused the accident,” reads the police press release.
During the first pit stop, Anderson can be heard telling a story about losing his car keys and people trying to “kill” him or “put stuff” in his BMW. He also says he had a “stunt” today before pausing in his explanation.
Anderson’s family’s attorney, Carl Douglas, stated in an interview with Insider that Anderson was in a mental crisis.
“Mr. Anderson was clearly in the midst of an emotional, mental crisis,” he said. “He was paranoid. He spoke nonsequiturs. To the layman and it should be clear to a trained officer that he was in the midst of a crisis.”
The LAPD press release noted that Anderson “displayed erratic behavior.”
According to police, Anderson leaves the street corner about seven minutes later.
Multiple officers soon arrived to subdue Anderson to the ground in the middle of the street. One of the officers warned that he would use a stun gun if Anderson disobeyed orders.
Captain Kelly Muñiz recounted in the video that Anderson “was increasingly agitated, uncooperative and resisting officers.”
One of the officers stabbed Anderson several times in the back. Douglas said Anderson was treated “seven times” in the “back of the heart”.
At a press conference on Wednesday, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said his department has no “predetermined limit” on how many times a TASER can be used, but officers should “generally avoid multiple” use so as not to injure a suspect. He added that his initial understanding of the situation was that the officer believed that repeated use of the TASER resulted in submission to Anderson.
As Anderson was pinned to the ground, he can be heard in the video saying, “They’re trying to kill me George Floyd.” He also shouted that the police were “actors” and that they were “trying to calm him down” because he “knows too much”.
In a separate video, one witness, who identified himself as an Uber driver, is heard in the background claiming that Anderson caused the accident and tried to steal his car. KNBC reported that the police department said Anderson had attempted to abduct someone before causing the accident.
Body camera footage from another officer responding to a possible collision showed three cars stopped in the middle of the street, including a gray BMW owned by Anderson. An LAPD spokesman said the department could not provide further details about the collision.
Anderson was overpowered and taken to a Santa Monica hospital where he died.
Douglas told Insider that he believed Anderson would have been alive if he hadn’t been repeatedly tased with the Taser and that the officer “wrongly” activated the taser. The lawyer said his firm would file a lawsuit against the city on behalf of Anderson’s family.
An LAPD spokesman said the department did not comment on the ongoing litigation.
“Is it really any wonder then that there was a cardiac arrest and attempts at resuscitation were futile,” Douglas said. “If he hadn’t been tasered seven times, he would still be alive.”
Boss Moore said during a press conference that Anderson’s death was the third critical incident in two days where a person died after encountering police.
On January 2, 45-year-old Takar Smith was fatally shot by officers after his wife called the police because he violated a restraining order, the Los Angeles Times reported. According to Fox 11, the day Anderson met with police, 35-year-old Oscar Sanchez was also shot and later died in hospital.
Moore said he expedited the release of body camera footage for the three fatal incidents for reasons of public interest.
Patrisse Cullors, Anderson’s cousin and co-founder of Black Lives Matter, wrote in an Instagram post that she believed the LAPD had “killed” Anderson.
The Cullors did not respond to an Insider’s request for comment.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Cullors said Anderson was “stolen from us. He was killed.”
“The video footage was clear. He was terrified, begging for help, begging for help. That’s not what he got on January 3,” she told The Post.
Douglas repeated Cullors’s statement and told Insider that he had dealt with similar cases.
“It’s another reflection of the challenges law enforcement agencies face across the country when there is a warrior mentality that is so pervasive in modern law enforcement instead of a vigilante mentality,” Douglas said.
An LAPD spokesman declined to respond to Douglas’ statement.
Anderson was an English teacher in high school, according to Cullors’ Instagram post. Douglas said Anderson left behind a five-year-old son.