“LAPD has killed three people this year. One of them is my family member.”
Los Angeles, CA — Car accidents and fender benders are an unfortunate part of human life. Though no one wants to ever be in one, they are a routine occurrence and police officers deal with them on a daily basis. When minor crashes occur, police will typically show up at the scene, determine fault, issue citations if necessary, and send both parties on their way.
Earlier this month, a minor fender bender happened in Los Angeles, Calif., and instead of calmly determining fault, officers who arrived at the scene of 31-year-old Keenan Anderson’s wreck used escalation.
Anderson, a father, and celebrated high school English teacher flagged down one of the officers after he was involved in a crash with another motorist. Instead of questioning both parties, however, that officer took one party’s word and used it to escalate force against Anderson and immediately treated him as a criminal.
Anderson was the cousin of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who told reporters that her cousin was scared for his life once police began treating him like a criminal. Anderson also appeared to be in a diminished mental state and needed help. Sadly, that help would never arrive.
“My cousin was asking for help, and he didn’t receive it. He was killed,” Cullors told the Guardian. “Nobody deserves to die in fear, panicking and scared for their life. My cousin was scared for his life. He spent the last 10 years witnessing a movement challenging the killing of Black people. He knew what was at stake and he was trying to protect himself. Nobody was willing to protect him.”
Body camera footage of the incident was released this week, showing a frightened but entirely peaceful and compliant Anderson attempting to explain to the officers that he needed help.
“Please help me,” Anderson told the officer on Jan. 3, around 3:45 p.m., as he flagged him down. But when the other driver involved in the crash implicated Anderson as a guilty party, the officer quickly changed his tune and escalated force instead of help.
“Get up against the wall!” the officer yells.
“I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry.” Anderson said as he complied with the officer’s commands and sat down on the sidewalk.
Anderson’s frantic state appeared to worsen the longer he was held there on the ground.
“I want people to see me,” he said, “You’re putting a thing on me.”
Around seven minutes into the stop and Anderson’s panic reached fever pitch. He then walked away from the officer and into the road.
Multiple officers would then stop him and the situation deteriorated rapidly.
“Get down to the ground, now! Turn over on your stomach!” yelled the officers as Anderson begged them for help.
“Please help me!” Anderson said. “They’re trying to kill me.”
As one officer put his elbow on Anderson’s neck, Anderson spoke these prophetic words, “They’re trying to George Floyd me.”
Tragically, a few moments and repeated taser strikes later, Anderson would be dead. His family is now speaking out and demanding justice, noting that police ‘tased him to death.”
“Officers struggled with Anderson for several minutes, utilizing a TASER, bodyweight, firm grips, and joint locks to overcome resistance,” the LAPD said in a written press release.
“It was a traffic accident. Instead of treating him like a potential criminal, police should have called the ambulance,” said Cullors. “If there was a policy in which traffic stops were met with unarmed professionals who come to the scene to help with whatever situation has happened, that would have prevented my cousin’s death. And that would have prevented so many other deaths.”
In a heartwrenching Instagram post, Cullors said she plans of fighting for justice for Anderson, and aptly noted that he should be alive right now.
This is my cousin Keenan Anderson. He was killed by LAPD in Venice on January 3rd, 2023. My cousin was an educator and worked with high school aged children. He was an English teacher.
LAPD has killed three people this year. One of them is my family member.
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.
Below is the body camera footage.
Article posted with permission from Matt Agorist
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