The cousin of a Black Lives Matter co-founder is dead in Los Angeles after police tased him several times following a car crash. The Washington Post IDs the man as 31-year-old Keenan Anderson, a father and high school English teacher visiting from DC. The incident in LA's Venice neighborhood took place Jan. 3, after an officer arrived at a traffic accident at around 3:30pm local time, per the LAPD. The officer "observed a male, later identified as Keenan Anderson, running in the middle of the street and exhibiting erratic behavior," the department notes in a description under the bodycam footage it released on YouTube.
As the officer and Anderson talk, Anderson repeats that someone is trying to kill him. Then, "approximately seven minutes later, Anderson attempted to run away," a message notes in the LAPD video. The officer catches up with Anderson on his motorcycle, orders him onto his stomach, and other officers arrive. "They're trying to George Floyd me!" Anderson repeats as he struggles on the ground and one of the officers starts to tase him, after warning him he was going to do so. The tasing continues off and on as officers repeatedly tell Anderson to stop moving and he begs them to stop.
The LAPD says paramedics at the scene eventually administered first aid to Anderson, then took him by ambulance to a nearby hospital. About 4 1/2 hours later, Anderson was declared dead of cardiac arrest. LA Police Chief Michel Moore says Anderson was in an "altered mental state" at the scene, and that an initial blood test showed he had cannabis and cocaine in his system, per the Post. Moore adds the Taser was used on Anderson 10 times, per the Guardian.
The LAPD also said that Anderson had tried to carjack someone, causing the crash, per NBC Los Angeles. Many, however, say that Anderson's death was an unnecessary use of force. "It was a traffic accident," cousin and BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors tells the Guardian. "Instead of treating him like a potential criminal, police should have called the ambulance." Dr. Melina Abdullah, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter's Los Angeles chapter, concurs. "LAPD is not calling it a 'killing,' but calling it an 'in-custody death,'" she says. "But Keenan was Tased to death." (Read more Taser stories.)