Los Angeles, CA

Opinion: Tased to death, Keenan Anderson and the politicization of black death

Lashaun Turner

Was Keenan Anderson tased to death, for no reason?

Keenan AndersonPhoto byTwitter

Keenan Anderson died hours after being tased by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) on January 3, 2023. Anderson reportedly suffered a medical event around 4.5 hours after an altercation where he was tasered multiple times by officers trying to restrain him.

Anderson was reportedly involved in a hit and run traffic accident. When the LAPD officer responded to the scene bodycam video shows Anderson agitated, paranoid, not complying with the officers commands and yelling out irrational things. The responding officer can be heard repeatedly trying to get Anderson to sit down, stay still and comply. Instead, Anderson runs into the street, into ongoing traffic, yelling, screaming, and endangering himself & potentially others.

As more officers arrive on the scene and try to subdue Anderson, he yells they're trying to kill him, and that police are trying to George Floyd him. In the subsequent struggle to handcuff Anderson he was tasered multiple times. Medics arrived, assess and then transport the awake and talking Anderson to the hospital where he later died. Preliminary toxicology tests, performed on Anderson’s body by the LAPD, found traces of cannabinoids and cocaine in his system.

Andersons death was almost immediately politicized. Some echoed a renewed call for some measure of defunding the police while activists saying the system of policing needed to be overthrown entirely.

Keenan Anderson was the cousin of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors who addressed his death on her Instagram saying “My cousin was an educator and worked with high school aged children. He was an English teacher. 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”.

Reactions from Politicians and others in the community

Keenan Anderson should still be alive. We cannot have a system of justice that is built on justifying the deaths of those at the hands of law enforcement. We need a system of care that values life. A system that ensures this never happens again. - Los Angeles County Supervisor, Lindsey P Horvath

Representative Adam Schiff tweetedWe must not look away. And we must not shrink from the need for justice for Keenan Anderson”. Police must never respond with such force to a potential mental health crisis. Resources and care are the answer. Accountability must be transparent and swift.

While some blame racism, white supremacy, or as Patrisse Cullors claimed "state violence", some in the community view the encounter and subsequent death of Keenan Anderson differently. One user on Twitter lays some of the blame on Anderson himself and his failure to comply:

Whether or not Keenan Anderson was suffering from a mental health crisis, or a drug induced psychosis remains to be seen as the investigation is ongoing and an official autopsy report has not been made public.

Questions remain to be answered include did the officer improperly use his taser & did it contribute to Andersons death? Would a mental health worker have been the appropriate response to this incident? Would Keenan Anderson be alive today if he had complied with the officers?

Keenan Anderson is the first recorded death of an unarmed Black man in the U.S in 2023.

Opinion: In the years following the George Floyd incident and the Black Lives Matter movement, media headlines seem focused on amplifying alleged rampant police killing of unarmed Blacks as though Black people are being killed by police left and right on the streets all day, every day.

However, statistics of unarmed African Americans killed by law enforcement officers in the United States over the past 3 years indicate an average of 22 incidents per year.

Are politicians using Black deaths for political points or to push a broader agenda?

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Lashaun is a Journalist, Reporter, and Viral Content Creator covering Local Stories, Food, Crime, Politics, & Travel with NEWSBREAK since June 2021.- JADED: Journalism with a Touch of Shade is Lashaun's views and opinions on various trending topics. Lashaun aka Lady I.M.PRE$S is a former NBC/CNBC Affiliate KCAA Broadcaster for "Cali's BEST" Radio Show airing on 102.3FM & 106.5FM from 2016-2020. Lashaun has been in the Media & P.R field for over 11 years and has interviewed an estimated 20k Celebrities and Entrepreneurs. Lashaun also produced & hosted Blaze Indie L.A TV show on LA's Channel 36 from 2014-2016

Los Angeles, CA

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