Vishal P. Singh
As Patrisse Cullors looked out upon a sea of umbrellas battered by rainfall, sirens rang out and red lights flashed onto her face. "I keep seeing all these ambulances. And I keep seeing the fire department. And I keep wondering 'where were they?' I keep wondering why they weren't called when my cousin begged for help! I keep wondering why the police were there. I keep hearing his voice. I keep seeing his face, our family's face. We don't have to live like this."
Keenan Anderson, a 31-year-old Black father and high school teacher, was killed on January 3rd after being tased repeatedly by the Los Angeles Police Department. Before he was killed, body camera video shows that he screamed, "they're trying to George Floyd me!" Anderson is the cousin of Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter.
The killing has been widely condemned by civil rights activists and local politicians. Human rights lawyer Qasim Rashid, Esq. stated in a viral social media post: "Keenan Anderson— a 31-year-old high school teacher and father— stopped LA police for help after an accident. They instead cuffed him, pinned him, and tased him repeatedly as he begged them to stop. Keenan died of cardiac arrest from excessive tasing. His crime— asking police for help."
Bernice King, the daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., wrote on social media: "Somewhere, somebody is excusing this with whataboutism and a horribly unjust belief that law enforcement = absolute power and the right to brutality with impunity. But what LAPD officers did to Keenan Anderson is inexcusable. No child should be left fatherless because his father was held down and tased to death after allegedly acting erratically and running from police."
Tonight, in the pouring rain, community members came together at Lincoln Blvd. and Venice Blvd., the location where Anderson was killed, to mourn his loss and demand justice. The vigil was a solemn yet determined affair. Speakers included Dr. Melina Abdullah of Black Lives Matter - Los Angeles, multi-faith clergy leaders, members of the Anderson family, and other family members who have lost loved ones to police violence.
Organizers gave libations to acknowledge the horrifically long list of Black and Brown people killed by law enforcement in Southern California. Notably, LAPD has already killed three people (including Anderson) in just the first few days of 2023. Last year was the deadliest year of police violence ever recorded in the history of the United States, with at least 1,176 people killed by law enforcement. In the wake of the 2020 George Floyd uprisings and protests, police killings in this country only seem to be increasing.
Keenan Anderson's family has a GoFundMe to help pay for funeral and memorial costs in the wake of this racist killing by LAPD.