Body camera footage from the day Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers repeatedly tased the cousin of a Black Lives Matter co-founder in the middle of a busy intersection shows the man, Keenan Anderson, begging police not to hurt him.
“They’re trying to George Floyd me!” Anderson exclaimed in the footage as officers pinned him down on the pavement.
Footage shows Anderson flagging down an officer on a motorcycle on Jan. 3 after allegedly getting involved in a traffic collision.
Officers, however, turned their focus to apprehend him.
At points in the video, Anderson shouts for help and says, “They’re trying to kill me!” adding, “Please don’t do this, sir!”
Anderson was arrested and transported to a local hospital, where he subsequently died, according to police.
The 31-year-old was a father and an English teacher, according to the family who spoke with The Los Angeles Times. His cousin Patrisse Cullors played a key role in starting the Black Lives Matter movement a decade ago ― she is credited as the first to use the influential hashtag.
The BLM movement accelerated after Floyd died in 2020 at the hands of police in Minnesota, who later received prison sentences.
So far, Anderson is one of three fatalities of Black and brown men this year after Los Angeles Police use-of-force interactions. The other two men, Oscar Sanchez and Takar Smith were shot and killed ― all three deaths occurred within the same week at the start of the new year.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore released the body camera footage for all three deadly interactions earlier than legally required due to the public interest, saying that the incidents “deeply concern[ed]” him.
Moore said at a press conference this week that Anderson had caused the collision. According to the LAPD, Anderson attempted to run away as additional law enforcement officers arrived. The first responding officer saw Anderson “exhibiting erratic behavior” and “verbalized with him” before requesting backup for “a DUI investigation,” according to a statement from the department.
In the released footage, Anderson initially complied with the officer’s commands to stay against a wall. Then, he can be heard saying, “I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry.” Later, he said somebody was trying to “put stuff” in his car.
Speaking with NPR about the body camera footage, Cullors told the outlet that she recognized the look of fear on her cousin’s face.
“When you get in a car accident, your body is in shock,” she said. “I don’t know what my cousin was going through, emotionally and mentally. But what I do know is that he got in a car accident. That’s scary. And when you get in a car accident, you need help.”
Once in police custody, Anderson was taken to a Santa Monica hospital, where he died after cardiac arrest, although no official cause of death has been released.
“I’ve been challenging law enforcement for the last 22 years,” Cullors told NPR, “but I’ve never had someone this close in my family be killed by the police.”
The LAPD said they found “cocaine metabolite” and “cannabinoids” in Anderson’s system. However, it is not clear whether he was under the influence of drugs at the time of the incident because of the length of time they can be detected in the body. Civil liberties groups criticized the release of a preliminary drug test as an attempt to smear Anderson’s character.
However, his family told The Los Angeles Times that he thought about going into law enforcement himself but pursued a master’s degree in education. His family said he moved to Virginia six months ago to live with his fiancee and teach 10th-grade English at a school in Washington, D.C.
The use of stun guns has been debated for years as the shock has been found to lead to sudden death in some cases, even though they are marketed as a less lethal option for law enforcement.