Who is Keenan Anderson? Black Lives Matter founder’s cousin dies after police arrest

Who is Keenan Anderson? Black Lives Matter founder's cousin dies after police arrest

A cousin of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors died hours after being tasered and held on the street by Los Angeles police.

Keenan Anderson, a 31-year-old father and teacher, died in a hospital in Santa Monica.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has released body camera footage from the encounter on January 3.

It shows Mr Anderson pleading for help as officers restrain him.

Who is Keenan Anderson? Black Lives Matter founder's cousin dies after police arrest
The arrest of Keenan Anderson was captured on bodycam footage

At around 15:00 local time, the officers who Tasered Mr Anderson were called to a traffic accident in Los Angeles’ Venice neighborhood.

Mr Anderson had committed a felony hit-and-run in a traffic collision, according to police chief Michel Moore, who spoke at a news conference on Wednesday.

He said Mr Anderson had attempted to flee the scene by trying to “get into another person’s car without their permission”.

Footage shows Mr Anderson in distress when police arrive, telling the first officer “somebody is trying to kill me”, although no visible threat appears on camera.

Initially, Mr Anderson sits down as directed but as more police arrive he gets up and runs into the street while ignoring requests for him to stop.

When police arrive and attempt to detain Mr Anderson, he initially cooperates before yelling, “Please,” “Help,” and “They’re Trying to George Floyd Me!” – a reference to the May 2020 murder of a black man by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Keenan Anderson: Body camera video shows LAPD detaining, using Taser on man  involved in Venice crash

After an officer repeatedly warned Mr Anderson to “stop [resisting arrest] or I’m going to tase you,” the officer used the stun gun for about 30 seconds. He was restrained by other officers. He was then tasered for approximately five seconds more.

Police said an ambulance arrived about five minutes after he was tasered and took Mr Anderson to a nearby hospital. According to police, he died four and a half hours later after suffering a cardiac arrest.

According to an LAPD toxicology report, Mr Anderson’s blood tested positive for cannabis and cocaine. A separate investigation will be carried out by the coroner’s office in Los Angeles County.

The footage adds to the pressure on the LAPD, whose encounters with black and brown men have resulted in three deaths in less than a week.

Officers shot and killed Takar Smith, 45, and Oscar Sanchez, 35, in early January.

Who is Keenan Anderson? Black Lives Matter founder's cousin dies after police arrest

The incidents have been described as “deeply disturbing” by Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass. The police department stated that it was looking into the deaths of the three men.

Mr Anderson was visiting Los Angeles from the Washington, DC area. His death has reignited calls for police reform, with some arguing that gun-toting cops should not be deployed to traffic accidents.

Black Lives Matter co-founder and Mr Anderson’s cousin, Patrisse Cullors, told the Guardian: “My cousin requested assistance, but he did not receive it.

“My cousin was terrified of his life. He has spent the last decade seeing a movement opposing the death of black people.

Who is Keenan Anderson? Black Lives Matter founder's cousin dies after police arrest

“He was aware of what was at stake and was attempting to protect himself. Nobody wanted to defend him.”

Ms Cullors and others are calling for the LAPD police chief to resign.

Mr Moore said he had expedited the release of the video footage of Mr Anderson due to public interest. He said it normally takes 45 days.