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Black Lives Matter Founder’s Cousin Dies After Police Arrest

Bodycam footage released by LAPD of the arrest of Keenan Anderson, a cousin of BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors
Black Lives Matter Founder’s Cousin Dies After Police Arrest. Credit: LAPD

The cousin of Black Lives Matter (BLM) Co-founder Patrisse Cullors died just four hours after being arrested by Los Angeles police. The 31-year-old Keenan Darnell Anderson died in a hospital in Santa Monica on January 3, 2023.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has released bodycam footage of the incident. Law enforcement was reportedly called to the scene where Anderson is said to have been involved in a hit-and-run traffic incident.

Police across the US have been heavily criticized in recent years for their treatment of African Americans. The BLM movement rose to prominence after the death of George Floyd in police custody in May 2020.

The incident

According to a “critical incident community briefing” released by the LAPD, police officers were called to a traffic accident at around 3:35 pm local time in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles.

When the police officers arrived, they were directed by members of the community to the suspect “who they indicated had caused the vehicle accident.” This turned out to be Andersen who “was running in the middle of the street and exhibiting erratic behavior,” said Kelly Muniz, a captain in the LAPD.

“Anderson then suddenly attempted to flee the location,” according to an LAPD incident report. The police officers pursued and caught up to Anderson.

The report says that when offices caught up with Anderson, “he began to resist, resulting in a use of force. Officers struggled with Anderson for several minutes, utilizing a TASER, bodyweight, firm grips, and joint locks to overcome his resistance.”

In the bodycam footage, which was released to the public, Anderson is visibly distressed during the arrest. He can be heard shouting “they’re trying to George Floyd me!” a reference to the death of an African American man in police custody in 2020 which sparked the BLM protests.

Tasering and cause of death

Anderson reportedly continued to resist arrest. Police officers initially used a stun on him for about thirty seconds. He was then tasered a second time for approximately five seconds.

An ambulance arrived on the scene about five minutes after he was tasered. The ambulance took Andersen to a local hospital, but he died about four and a half hours later from cardiac arrest, police have said.

Black Lives Matter co-founder responds

Patrisse Cullors, a cousin of Anderson and well known as one of the co-founders of the BLM movement, has responded to his death.

“My cousin was asking for help, and he didn’t receive it,” she told The Guardian. “My cousin was scared for his life. He spent the last 10 years witnessing a movement challenging the killing of black people.”

“He knew what was at stake and he was trying to protect himself,” Cullors continued. “Nobody was willing to protect him.”

The BLM co-founder—along with others—has called on LAPD Police Chief Michael Moor to resign.

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