cousin of Black Lives Matter co-founder dies after arrest

Reactions and controversy are growing in the United States after the public release, Wednesday, January 11, of police videos showing the arrest in Los Angeles of Keenan Anderson, a black American, cousin of one of the co-founders of the Black Lives movement Matter.

The 31-year-old man died hours after receiving a series of electric shocks from a Taser gun during his arrest on January 3, California city authorities said.

On the images captured by the portable cameras of the agents involved, we see this teacher visibly feverish and agitated after being involved in a banal traffic accident in the district of Venice.

After having complied, at first, with the orders of the agents who wanted to check if he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Keenan Anderson then fled in the middle of the street. The police who quickly catch up with him use force to subdue him, pinning him to the ground where they inflict Taser shocks on him to stop him struggling.

“The officers struggled with Anderson for several minutes, using a Taser, their body weight, firm grips and armbars to overcome his resistance”the Los Angeles police said in a statement.

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“They try to make me like George Floyd”

The video shows Keenan Anderson screaming ” help “, “they are trying to kill me” or “They try to make me the same as George Floyd”, as an officer places his elbow on his chest and neck. Police camera footage shows that at one point an officer’s elbow was rammed into Anderson’s neck. While the same officer’s forearm is also pressed against his chest, another officer says to him: “Mind your elbow, partner. »

On May 25, 2020, African-American George Floyd was asphyxiated by a Minneapolis police officer who had rested his knee on his neck for almost ten minutes. This police blunder had triggered a protest movement in the United States and in other countries of the world, with the central slogan “Black Lives Matter” (“Black Lives Matter”).

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After being subdued, Keenan Anderson was taken to hospital, where he died of cardiac arrest a few hours later.

“He was killed by the police”, accused on Instagram Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of the Black Lives Matters movement. Keenan Anderson, a resident of Washington who was visiting Los Angeles, was his cousin. “Keenan deserved to live, his child deserved to be raised by their father. Keenan, we will fight for you and for all of our loved ones who are victims of state violence”she added.

Cocaine and Cannabis

“We don’t know what role” officers played a role in Keenan Anderson’s death, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said. A city police department toxicology test found cocaine and cannabis in Anderson’s body, though those results are separate from the independent medical examiner’s report, Moore said.

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The death of Keenan Anderson brings to three the number of deaths involving police officers in the city of Los Angeles since the start of 2023, according to American media. The African-American mayor of Los Angeles, Karen Bass, called for the immediate suspension of these police officers pending the results of the investigations.

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“Regardless of the outcome of these investigations, the need for urgent change is clear. We need to reduce the use of force first and foremost, and I have absolutely no tolerance for [l’usage] excessive force”said Wednesday Mme Bass.

Le Monde with AP and AFP

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