Family Of Man Tased By LAPD Files $100M Wrongful Death Suit Against LA

VENICE, CA — The family of Keenan Anderson, a man who died in Los Angeles Police Department custody after being Tased in the back six times, filed a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles this week.

On June 19, lawyers representing Anderson’s partner Gabrielle Hansell and his 5-year-old son Syncere sued, claiming officers used excessive force against Anderson and racially discriminated against him for being Black.

“Regrettably, we have chosen this day, Juneteeth, to notice the filing of his lawsuit,” attorney Carl Douglas. “A high school teacher trying to make a better life for young Black and brown boys in Washington DC. He was here only for a break to settle some personal affairs. And clearly, he did nothing to justify being tased more than six times with 50,000 watts of electrical energy coursing through his body.”

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The family previously filed a $50 million damages claim against the city in January, arguing the level of force used in Anderson’s final moments was unlawful amd contributed to his death. The claim was denied, prompting attorneys to move forward with the lawsuit.

Anderson, a 31-year-old high school English teacher and cousin of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, died on Jan. 3 after LAPD officers responded to a minor traffic collision in Venice. About four hours later Anderson died in the hospital after going into cardiac arrest, according to LAPD.

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In the LAPD body camera footage of Anderson’s arrest, he could be heard yelling for help and saying, “They’re trying to George Floyd me.”

SEE RELATED: ‘Trying To George Floyd Me’: LAPD Releases Video From In-Custody Death

“We can only wonder what Keenan Anderson meant when he said ‘they’re trying to George Floyd me,” said attorney Ben Crump, who represented Floyd’s family after his death in 2020. “If he meant that he would end up dead at the end of the encounter at the hands of the Los Angeles Police Department, then Keenan Anderson was correct.”

LAPD policy does not mention how frequently an officer can use a stun gun, but a 2021 directive urged them not to risk injury with repeated use. Other police departments in the country limit officers from discharging a stun gun more than three times or for a total duration of 15 seconds, according to the L.A. Times.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore expressed concern about the number of times Anderson was Tased and promised a thorough investigation into his death.

“In my preliminary review of this incident, it’s unclear what the role of that Taser was,” Moore said. “To be clear, it’s dependent on the totality of our investigative resources, but also on medical records from the hospital as well as a coroner’s report and their formal and forensic level examination. As this investigation continues, however, I will pay close attention to the use of the Taser.”

Preliminary toxicology reports from the Los Angeles Police Department Forensic Science Division indicated that samples of Anderson’s blood tested positive for Cocaine Metabolite and Cannabinoids, according to the LAPD. The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office conducted its own toxicology test and confirmed the presence of cocaine in Anderson’s system at the time of his death.

At a news conference in January, Hansell said she will never get over watching Anderson cry for help and worries about the day her son will watch the police footage. Hansell said she will not know how to answer Syncere’s questions about the video when that time comes.

“All I do know is that we are here to get justice for Keenan and, in the process, we hope to evoke change so that moving forward my son doesn’t have to live his life in fear of one day what happened to his dad may one day happen to him,” Hansell said.

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