The Wall Street Journal in a Saturday letter from the publisher wrote “reliable information is the most valuable currency of the epoch. A faulty news dispatch can send massive ripples. Hyperbole, infatuation with spectacle and thinly sourced media reports with alarmist headlines—prevalent in what passes for news today—cloud personal judgment and stifle nuanced societal debate. By contrast, reliable, unbiased journalism, data and analysis can help determine the difference between good outcomes and bad ones.”
Former Councilman Mike Bonin sent out a January 13 email to his former constituent email list about the death of Keenan Anderson and wrote “Keenan is one of three people killed by LAPD in the first week of January.”
Bonin’s email included information about a January 14 vigil “Join Keenan’s family and loved ones as we honor the life of this 31-year-old Black father and schoolteacher tased to death by LAPD.”
According to the police report, police body cameras and the video from a spectator, Bonin’s account is not accurate. (You can view the Police video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVTYcbPX0GA.)
Allegedly, Anderson had been in a hit and run accident near the intersection of Venice and Lincoln Boulevard on January 3. Then, an Uber driver said that Anderson had tried to take his car after the accident.
An LAPD officer arrived on the scene, and asked Anderson, who was in the intersection to come to the corner and sit next to the building. The officer then called in additional units for a DUI investigation.
Initially, Anderson complied, but then he got up and started walking and jogging through the cars in the busy intersection.
Another unit arrived and police made an effort to get Anderson out of the traffic. He struggled with officers and said, “Don’t George Floyd me.”
The officers asked him to comply with orders and told him if he didn’t, he would be tasered. (This was in the east-bound car lanes on Venice, amid heavy traffic.)
Anderson was warned at least 12 time that he would be tasered if he did not comply.
Although on tape appears that Anderson was tasered several time, Chief Michel Moore later said that only a “single taser activation” had occurred, that several attempts were ineffective, and the officer used “a series of dry stuns” following the first activation.
Anderson was then transported to a hospital by paramedics. Four and a half hours later, he went into cardiac arrest.
A full investigation is taking place, but preliminary findings from LAPD’s Forensic Service Division (toxicology unit), show levels of cocaine metabolite and cannabinoids in Anderson’s system. The Los Angeles County Coroner will conduct independent testing.
Anderson, who teaches 10th grade English in Washington, D.C., charter school, was visiting relatives in Los Angeles. He is the cousin of Patrisse Cullors, the founder of Black Lives Matter. She is calling for the resignation of Moore.
Melina Abdullah, a friend of Cullors, and the co-founder of BLM LA, said the focus on narcotics is an “assassination on Kennen’s character after they’ve already stolen his body.”
She added in one news report “he was treated as a criminal, as most Black men are.”
Councilwoman Traci Park issued this statement January 11: “I have watched the video of the moments preceding Keenan Anderson’s death and I want to extend my deepest condolences to his loved ones, and everyone affected by this tragedy.
“Los Angeles Police Department officers are given significant responsibilities, and the public expects them to exercise their duties in a responsible manner. I will continue to prioritize transparency and accountability during this critical investigation.”
Mayor Karen Bass after the incident said, “I appreciate Chief Moore’s decision to release the footage today. Policy allows for up to 45 days before footage of use of force incidents is released, but I believe the Los Angeles Police Department must be as transparent as possible, as expeditiously as possible. Once again, my heart breaks for the families and loved ones who are experiencing such a tragic loss.”