Black Lives Matter co-founder’s cousin dies after being blasted with a Taser by L.A. police

Los Angeles police released body-camera video showing what led up to an officer deploying his taser on a man who later died.

The incident happened on Jan. 3 and involved Los Angeles resident Keenan Darnell Anderson, the cousin of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors.

Anderson, 31, a Black man, died at a hospital after suffering a medical emergency about four and a half hours after his arrest, said Kelly Muñiz, a police spokesperson, in a video statement.

The situation began around 3:35 p.m. when a Los Angeles police officer was flagged down about a traffic accident, Muñiz said. Witnesses directed the officer to Anderson, whom “they indicated had caused the vehicle accident,” she said.

Cullors told The Guardian that her cousin, a high school teacher and father, was asking the police for help.

“And he didn’t receive it. He was killed,” she said. “Nobody deserves to die in fear, panicking and scared for their life. My cousin was scared for his life.”

The body-camera video shows Anderson in the middle of the street. “Please help me,” he tells the officer before running away.

The officer tells Anderson to “get off to the side,” the video shows. In response, Anderson says that someone is trying to kill him.

Anderson eventually gets on the sidewalk and puts his hands in the air. “I didn’t mean to,” he tells the officer.

The officer instructs Anderson to get up against the wall, the video shows. Anderson instead drops to his knees and puts his hands behind his head.

“Please. Please, sir, I didn’t mean to, sir. Please. Please. I’m sorry,” Anderson says, according to the footage.

Anderson tells the officer that he lost his key and had someone fix his car. After Anderson says again that someone is trying to kill him, the officer asks who he is talking about.

“I had a stunt today,” Anderson responds. “I had a stunt today, sir. I need to. Like, no, no, no.”

Muñiz said Anderson stayed on the ground for several minutes.

“However, as the additional officers arrived Anderson suddenly attempted to flee the location by running into the middle of the street,” she said in the video statement.

“The officers gave chase and ordered Anderson to stop. Anderson ultimately stopped and was ordered to get on the ground. As the officers attempted to take Anderson into custody, he became increasingly agitated, uncooperative, and resisted the officers.”

The body-camera video shows Anderson lying on his back in the middle of the street in front of a car. Several officers tell him to turn over on his stomach, and when he does not, they grab him, the video shows.

“Please, sir, don’t do this,” Anderson says in the video. “Please, help me, please. … They’re trying to kill me. Please, please, please, please, please, please.”

The officers tell Anderson that if he does not stop resisting they will taser him. The footage shows one officer, who appears to be Black, placing his elbow on Anderson’s neck to pin him to the ground.

At one point, Anderson yells: “They’re trying to George Floyd me,” referring to a Black man who was killed by Minneapolis police in May 2020.

As a struggle ensues between Anderson and the police, one officer is seen in the video deploying his taser repeatedly. He is later handcuffed and placed in an ambulance to be evaluated for the taser deployment, according to Muñiz and the video. He died at the hospital around 8:15 p.m. on Jan. 3.

Cullors accused police of failing to protect Anderson, telling The Guardian that they treated him like a “potential criminal.”

“It was a traffic accident. Instead of treating him like a potential criminal, police should have called the ambulance. If there was a policy in which traffic stops were met with unarmed professionals who come to the scene to help with whatever situation has happened, that would have prevented my cousin’s death,” she said. “And that would have prevented so many other deaths.”

In an Instagram post on Sunday Cullors demanded justice for Anderson, writing that he “deserves to be alive right now, his child deserves to be raised by his father.”

She posted: “Keenan we will fight for you and for all of our loved ones impacted by state violence. I love you.”

NBC News has reached out to Cullors and her representative.

At a news conference Wednesday, police chief Michael Moore said Anderson had committed a felony hit-and-run and tried to “get into another person’s car without their permission.”

A toxicology report by the police department’s toxicology unit showed that Anderson tested positive for cocaine metabolite and cannabinoids, Muñiz said. An independent toxicology test will be done by the county coroner’s office. A cause of death has not yet been released.