Lawyers acting on behalf of the family of the five-year-old son of a man who died after being repeatedly shocked with a stun gun by Los Angeles police have filed a $50 million damages lawsuit against the city.
The legal claim is needed before Keenan Anderson’s son and estate can sue LAPD police for wrongful death and civil rights violations for arresting him in less than a minute on Jan. 3 after a traffic accident and tasering him six times.
“If you taser someone six times with 50,000 watts of electrical energy… is it any wonder that moments later their heart starts beating?” asked attorney Carl Douglas at a news conference.
“Is it any wonder that four hours later his heart couldn’t take the pressure of that taser and gave out, leaving a five-year-old boy behind?”
Lawyers for the five-year-old son of Keenan Anderson, 31, who died after being repeatedly shocked with a stun gun by the LAPD, have filed a $50 million lawsuit for damages
Attorney Carl Douglas, right, held a press conference with Gabrielle Hansel, guardian of five-year-old Syncere Kai Anderson, to announce the filing of a $50 million lawsuit for damages
Syncere Kai Anderson, 5, is held by his mother, Gabrielle Hansell, at a news conference
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Anderson’s son, Syncere Kai Anderson, who stood alongside her attorneys with his mother, Gabrielle Hansell, the executor of his estate.
Anderson, 31, a high school English teacher in Washington, DC, and cousin of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, was the suspect in a hit-and-run traffic accident when he was pulled over by police in Venice.
He later ran from officers and resisted arrest, police said.
Anderson cried out for help after being pinned down the street and repeatedly shocked by officers, according to video released by the department.
“They’re trying to kill me,” Anderson was heard screaming.
Footage showed an officer pressing his forearm on Anderson’s chest and an elbow on his neck.
“They’re trying to put George Floyd on me,” Anderson said in reference to the black man who was killed by Minnesota officials in May 2020.
After being steamed, Anderson went into cardiac arrest and died in a hospital about four hours later.
Officers repeatedly gave Anderson instructions he refused to follow. He was warned that if he did not physically comply with their surrender instructions, he would be tased
Anderson was heard yelling on police bodycam, “Please, please help me.”
“We can only wonder what Keenan Anderson meant,” said attorney Ben Crump. “But if he meant that at the end of the encounter he would end up dead at the hands of the Los Angeles Police Department, then Keenan Anderson was right. You George Floyd him.’
Chief Michel Moore said Anderson initially complied with officers when they were investigating whether he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but he was subdued after fighting with officers who had been chasing him as he ran away.
“In my preliminary assessment of this incident, it is unclear what role this taser played,” Moore said.
“To be clear, it depends on the totality of our investigative resources, but also medical records from the hospital as well as a coroner’s report and their formal and forensic review. However, as this investigation continues, I will be closely monitoring the use of the taser.’
Anderson – like other black men – ran in fear as more officers responding to a call for backup rushed towards him, Douglas said.
The allegation said officers used undue lethal force, used the taser carelessly and mistakenly, failed to train on the dangers of asphyxiation while handcuffing Anderson, and conspired to hide and distort information in false police reports .
“Three trained killers, because those are trained officers, were unable to handcuff an unarmed man without having to taser him to the back of his heart six times in a row,” Douglas said.
Melina Abdullah, left, hugs Patrisse Cullors, right, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, at the press conference
Patrisse Cullors, far left, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, listens as Gabrielle Hansell, mother of five-year-old Syncere Kai Anderson, far right, announces a lawsuit
“Hearing Keenan screaming for help like he did and watching him get hurt by the very people who were supposed to be protecting him is something I’ll never get over,” Hansel said
Attorneys Benjamin Crump (left) and Carl Douglas (right) held a news conference Friday
An LAPD toxicology test found cocaine and cannabis in Anderson’s body, the chief said. The coroner’s office will also prepare a toxicology report.
Officers have not yet been named, but their union issued a statement saying the family and lawyers “were trying to shamelessly cash in on a ‘tragic incident’.”
An LAPD spokesman declined to comment, citing a policy not to discuss pending litigation.
The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents LAPD officers, issued a statement again blaming Anderson and saying he escalated the confrontation while on drugs.
“Minor car accidents are usually dealt with by an exchange of information between the drivers and a call to the insurance carrier,” says LAPPL.
“On the other hand, if a person high on cocaine crashes, tries to open an innocent driver’s car door, and then flees the scene by pulling into traffic, police officers must act. We are demanding that the Police Commissioner release the missing seven minutes of body worn camera video that will capture the entire episode with Mr. Anderson.
“We believe the missing video will confirm that Mr. Anderson was the one who escalated this tragic incident that his family and Mr. Crump are now shamelessly trying to capitalize on.”
In a post on Instagram, BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors revealed that Anderson was her cousin
After his death, BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors took to Instagram to mourn the death of her cousin and blamed his death on the LAPD
“As I watched the video, I realized that my cousin Keenan was actually really scared and kept asking for help, and unfortunately he didn’t get it from the LAPD,” Cullors told the Los Angeles Times.
“At that point the question arises why wasn’t there [help]?
“Why wasn’t my cousin offered medical care?” She asked. “Why wasn’t an ambulance or the fire department called when he kept repeating that he needed help, that he needed support?”
Cullors told the news outlet that before viewing the body camera footage, she said that she and her family were trying to find out what actually happened.
“What we do know is that before his experience with the police, Keenan was alive and then he was dead. But we don’t want to continue the narrative of what the police said because we don’t know if that’s true,” he said you.
“Keenan, you deserve sympathy,” Cullors said. “Keenan, you deserve to be in your classroom and support your students. Keenan, you deserve your anniversary. Keenan, you deserve to raise your son.”
Pictures of 31-year-old teacher Keenan Anderson, who was tasered multiple times during a fight with LAPD officers in Venice and died in a hospital, are shown