Three things are certain in life in the United States: day follows night, innocent people become fatal victims of random gunman attacks, and black people die in police custody.
Already this year, three black men have lost their lives while in the hands of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). The latest black life to be lost while in LAPD custody was Keenan Anderson, a father to a 6 year old son, a teacher, and the cousin of a Black Lives Matter co-founder.
The 31 year old could be heard screaming…
“They’re trying to George Floyd me. They’re trying to George Floyd me.”
Anderson is referencing the murder of George Floyd by a policeman in 2020, which sparked an outcry around the world.
Video footage from the incident on January 3, but released yesterday, witnesses an LAPD officer telling Anderson to “stop resisting” as he lies on the pavement with officers holding him down. Then an officer announced that he was going to use a taser on Anderson.
“They’re trying to kill me. They’re trying to kill me… help me.”
Anderson later died in hospital.
The killing is one of three incidents linked to the LAPD in the first few days of the new year.
On January 2, police shot and killed 45 year old Takar Smith, stating that he was holding a knife. The incident began when Smith’s wife contacted emergency services because he had violated a restraining order. She also informed dispatchers that Smith had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and was not currently taking his medication.
A day later, on January 3, the same day as Anderson’s death, police shot 35 year old Oscar Sanchez after the LAPD said he confronted officers with a “makeshift spear.”
An investigation into the deaths of Anderson and Sanchez is still ongoing, while Smith’s death was officially ruled as a homicide caused by gunshot wounds.
LAPD Police Captain Kelly Muniz said the department is still in the early stages of the investigations, adding that they can take up to a year to complete.
“Our understanding of the incident may change as additional evidence is collected, analysed and reviewed. We also do not draw any conclusions about whether the officers acted consistent with our policies in the law until all the facts are known and the investigation is complete.”
Understandably, the recent deaths of Anderson, Sanchez, and Smith have once again brought attention to the issue of police violence in the US and its disproportionate impact on black communities.
According to a study published in the medical journal The Lancet in 2021, the number of deaths caused by police violence in the US between 1980 and 2018 was 30,800, which is significantly higher than estimates provided by the US National Vital Statistics System.
The study also found that more than half of these deaths were not reported in the government-run system. Furthermore, the research revealed that fatal police violence disproportionately affected non-Hispanic black individuals and the Hispanic community.
Anderson’s cousin, Patrisse Cullors, a writer and activist, and credited with creating the Black Lives Matter hashtag said…
“Keenan deserves to be alive right now, his child deserves to be raised by his father.
“Keenan, we will fight for you and for all of our loved ones impacted by state violence. I love you.”
Anderson’s place of work, Digital Pioneers Academy, a school in Washington, DC, also called for justice for their “deeply committed educator.”
The school’s founder and CEO, Mashea Ashton made known that Anderson was the third member of the school community to fall victim to violence in the past 65 days.
“Two of our high school students – 14-year-old Antione Manning and 15-year-old Jakhi Snider – died during separate incidents of gun violence this fall.
“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.”
Police chief Michel Moore told a news conference on Wednesday that Anderson had committed a felony hit-and-run in a traffic collision.
He said Anderson had attempted to flee the scene by trying to “get into another person’s car without their permission.
Anderson can be heard saying in the body camera footage, as he jogs through an intersection…
“Somebody’s trying to kill me, sir.”
In the video, an officer on a motorcycle tells Anderson to stand against the wall. Anderson does as he is told, moving to the pavement and kneeling with his hands on his head.
Anderson tells the officer he lost the key to his car and is then heard pleading for his life.
“Please, sir, I didn’t mean to, sir.”
Several officers then move forward to subdue Anderson.
“Please don’t do this. “They’re trying to kill me.”
Police then threaten to use a Taser.
“Stop it or I’m gonna tase you.”
Muniz said Anderson had grown agitated, uncooperative and resisted arrest. The footage shows an officer using a Taser multiple times on Anderson as he was lying on his back, while the police were placing him in handcuffs.
The Los Angeles Fire Department provided medical assistance on the scene. Anderson was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Santa Monica, where he was pronounced dead at around 8:15 pm.
Here is body worn camera footage from LAPD’s interaction with Keenan Anderson who BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors claims is her cousin. pic.twitter.com/kUOKuIsmu2
— Hoop (@xhoop) January 12, 2023