Relative of BLM founder dies in LAPD custody

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Wave Staff and Wire Reports

VENICE — The cousin of Back Lives Matter co-founder Patrice Cullors died in the custody of Los Angeles police Jan. 3.

Cullors posted a photo of her cousin, Keenan Anderson, on her Instagram page Jan. 9, saying “This is my cousin Keenan Anderson. He was killed by LAPD in Venice January 3rd, 2023. My cousin was an educator and worked with high school aged children. He was an English teacher.”   

The Los Angeles Police Department sent out a news release Jan. 6, three days after the incident, detailing the incident. 

It said a West Traffic Division officer was flagged down following a collision at the intersection of Venice and Lincoln boulevards around 3:40 p.m. Jan. 3.

Witnesses told the officer the man who caused the collision, later identified as Keenan Anderson, was running in the middle of the street and exhibiting erratic behavior, according to the news release.

The officer then contacted Anderson and talked to him, then requested backup for a DUI investigation, police said.

As the backup began to arrive, Anderson suddenly bolted from the scene with officers giving chase, the LAPD reported.

Anderson ran in the middle of Venice Boulevard. When officers caught up to him, Anderson allegedly began to resist. Officers used a stun gun, bodyweight, firm grips and joint locks in an attempt to overcome Anderson’s alleged resistance, police said.

Anderson was eventually handcuffed and hobbled at the ankles by police. Shortly after his arrest, Los Angeles Fire Department personnel were called to the scene to render medical aid to Anderson because of the use of force, the LAPD reported.

Anderson was then taken to a hospital in Santa Monica where he later went into cardiac arrest and died, police said.

One officer suffered minor injuries.

Cullors’ Instagram post said: “Keenan deserves to be alive right now, his child deserves to be raised by his father. Keenan, we will fight for you and all of our loved ones impacted by state violence.

The in-custody death was being investigated the LAPD’s Force Investigation Division and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office shooting team.

A GoFundMe account has been set up in Anderson’s memory to cover his son’s “current education and future college tuition.” The account can be seen at gofundme.com/f/in-loving-memory-of-keenan-anderson.

The LAPD released video of the incident Jan. 11, along with two other use-of-force incidents that have happened since New Year’s Day.

Mayor Karen Bass issued a statement after seeing the videos, saying: “Full investigations are underway, and I pledge that the city’s investigations into these deaths will be transparent and will reflect the values of Los Angeles. I will ensure that the city’s investigations will drive only toward truth and accountability.” Bass also ordered that the officers involved be placed on immediate leave.

“No matter what these investigations determine, however, the need for urgent change is clear,” Bass said in her statement. “We must reduce the use of force overall, and I have absolutely no tolerance for excessive force. We must also lead our city forward — finally — on the mental health crisis that has been allowed to grow, fester and cause so much harm to individual Angelenos, their families and our communities.

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