The family of a Washington, D.C. teacher and cousin of a Black Lives Matter founder, who died after he was repeatedly shocked with a stun gun by police, has filed a $50 million damages claim against the city of Los Angeles.
Keenan Anderson, 31, died of cardiac arrest in a hospital hours after a struggle with Los Angeles Police Department officers pursuing him after a car accident on Jan. 3, police said. Anderson was shocked six times with a Taser in less than a minute.
“As a result of these unlawful assaults, Mr. Anderson sustains grievous bodily harm and damage to mind and body,” the claim reads.
Civil rights attorneys Carl Douglas and Ben Crump filed the lawsuit on behalf of Anderson’s 5-year-old son.
What happened to Keenan Anderson?
Police said Anderson initially complied with officers’ orders as they investigated a car collision and whether Anderson was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He then fled and was chased by officers, then resisted when they tried to arrest him, according to Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore.
Officers then used a stun gun to subdue him. He was taken to hospital, where he died more than four hours later. A preliminary police toxicology report found cocaine and cannabis in Anderson’s body, according to Moore, and a coroner’s toxicology report will also be completed.
“It’s unclear what role the physical struggle with officers and the use of the Taser played in his unfortunate death,” Moore said.
Moore said there’s no limit to the number of times officers can use a Taser on someone, but it’s best to avoid repeated use to avoid injuring the person they’re injuring. try to hold back.
POLICE USE OF TASERS:Why and when do the police use shocking devices?
“If you blast someone with 50,000 watts of electrical energy six times through their heart, is it really any wonder that moments later their heart starts beating?” Douglas said at the press conference. “Is it any wonder that four hours later his heart can no longer withstand the pressure of that Taser and loose, leaving a 5-year-old boy in his wake?”
An LAPD spokesperson declined to comment on the complaint, telling USA TODAY on Friday that the department does not comment on ongoing litigation.
Bodycam video shows Anderson being shocked by the Taser
Black Lives Matter supporters protested outside LAPD headquarters following Anderson’s death, which they see as another example of a black man who died due to police misconduct.
Body camera and bystander cellphone video played of Anderson’s interaction with police showed him calling for help, and at one point an officer rested his elbow on Anderson’s neck while Anderson was on his back on the sidewalk.
“They’re trying to kill me,” Anderson said. “They’re trying to get me George Floyd.”
Officers tried to get Anderson to roll over onto his stomach so they could handcuff him while Anderson resisted, the video shows.
“Stop, or I’ll taser you,” repeated an officer repeatedly. Anderson was then repeatedly shocked by the Taser.
“My son is going to see this one day, and I don’t know how I’m going to answer his questions now or in the future,” Hansell said. “We are here to get justice for Keenan and in the process we hope to bring about change so my son doesn’t have to live his life in fear that one day what happened to his father might happen to him.”
LAPD used ‘unreasonable deadly force’, allegation claims
Anderson’s 5-year-old son, Syncere Kai Anderson, his mother Gabrielle Hansell and their lawyers announced the lawsuit at a press conference on Friday. Anderson was linked to Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors.
The complaint alleges that the LAPD failed to properly train its officers to detain someone without using “unreasonable deadly force” or that the officers failed to implement their training.
He also claims that the officers involved had no reason to believe Anderson posed a threat and were not justified in using a Taser on him. Lawyers for the family also said in the allegation that they believed the officers’ implicit bias against Anderson as a black man contributed to their perception of him as a threat.
“The officers’ use of unreasonable force in these circumstances was intentionally malicious, oppressive and despicable, and/or with a willful disregard for the rights and safety of Mr. Anderson,” the complaint states.
The lawsuit filed Friday was required before attorneys could file a wrongful death and civil rights violation lawsuit against the city and the officers involved, which Douglas said he intends to pursue.
The officers have not been named.
Contributor: N’dea Yancey-Bragg, USA TODAY
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