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“Beautiful Black Soul Gone Too Soon”: Community Demands Justice and Police Reforms Following Custodial Death of Keenan Anderson

31-year-old Keenan Anderson, high-school teacher, father, and cousin of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors lost his life after getting tased 6 times by LAPD on Jan 3 in Venice. The autopsy report and cause of death are still on “security hold” at the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office.

Family and friends of Mr. Anderson gathered in front of the Los Angeles City Hall on Tuesday to demand justice.Activists and organizers demand for restricted used of tasers and that police should no longer be the primary responders for minor traffic accidents.

According to family sources Anderson was seeking help after a traffic collision when he was chased down and tased by the Police. He was begging for help, claimsthe aggrieved family. Recent Body Camera footage released by the LAPD shows Anderson pleading with the Police.

In a statement released after the incident, the LAPD said Anderson was

“running in the middle of the street and exhibiting erratic behavior.”

The footage released by the LAPD, however, shows Anderson kneeling with his hands up and shouting, “I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry.”

Other individuals involved in the traffic incident claim that Anderson had caused the accident, and was attempting a hit-and-run before the Police arrested him. Anderson can be seen asking for water in the footage.

“You’re putting a thing on me,” he tells an officer as the officer tries to physically restrains him, following which Anderson can be seen running into the street with officers in pursuit of him. “Please, please, please, please, they’re trying to George Floyd me,” an agitated Anderson is seen shouting as one officer grabs hold of his neck.

Calls for reforms have mounted since the death of Anderson, who is the third person to have lost his life as a result of use of force by the LAPD this year alone.

“We have to do something,” Miss Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter told the NPR. “It’s a devastating reality that any of us could be impacted by the crisis that is the U.S. police system,” she added.

Anderson is survived by a six-year-old son. Digital Pioneers Academy, the school where Anderson taught 10th grade English posted a statement on its website, “We are deeply saddened by the death of Mr. Keenan Anderson. Our community is grieving. But we are also angry. Angry that, once again, a known, loved and respected member of our community is no longer with us. Angry that another talented, beautiful Black soul is gone too soon.”

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Written by Aliyah Collins