Already, 12 days into 2023, Los Angeles police have killed three people: Takar Smith, 45; Oscar Sanchez, 35 and Keenan Anderson.
Keenan Anderson was a tenth-grade English teacher from a Washington D.C. school (Digital Pioneers Academy) https://www.digitalpioneersacademy.org/in-memory-keenan-anderson.
He was a known, loved and respected member of the community and cousin of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors. He died from going into cardiac arrest after his ordeal with police in which, at 3:40 P.M., Keenan flagged down police after a traffic incident, which bystanders said he caused; seeming anxious and disoriented, Keenan spoke to police for a while till the officer on scene called for extra officers(muscle), causing an increased sense of anxiousness in an already distressed Keenan, from which resulted in him, likely, feeling as if he had to flee out of fear for his safety. Police followed him.
“Officers struggled with Anderson for several minutes, utilizing a TASER, bodyweight, firm grips, and joint locks to overcome resistance, handcuffed at the scene and hobbled at the ankles (body cam shows at the knees) after which medical aid was administered after the TASER was deployed and then he was taken to Santa Monica hospital where he went into cardiac arrest and died.” -the LAPD said in a written press release.
The entire release can be seen on the department’s YouTube channel here.
When he first meets the officer on-scene he states, “someone is trying to kill me,” continuing on saying, “ I lost my key” and ”someone’s trying to put stuff in my car.”
He also asks the officer for water and said, “they think I killed C LO.” During the struggle with the officers, he says that” they’re(the officers) trying to George Floyd me!” and ”they are trying to sedate me!”…” they sedated me!”
Later on, a preliminary toxicology-blood screen of Anderson’s blood samples tested positive for cocaine and marijuana, police said, adding the Los Angeles County coroner’s office is expected to conduct its own independent toxicology tests.
In response to the deaths, BLM Los Angeles is calling for the resignation of LAPD Chief Moore and Keenan’s family filed a $50 million dollar lawsuit against the LAPD.
Was this loved and respected tenth-grade English teacher from D.C. mistreated by his subduers because of his skin color? Was this a conspiracy, he is the cousin of the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement? Was he really “drugged up?” Was it by his own will or did someone force it on him? He did say someone was trying to kill him and put stuff in his car. Was he being framed? What should the first officer have done differently? Perhaps calling for the assistance of a mental health professional to talk to Keenan in a humane, non-threatening way instead of calling for more muscle which accelerated the incident? How about the usage of the taser? How many times do you need to zap someone and for HOW LONG? Watching the officers’ cam footage, the officer continues to zap Keenan for what seems virtually non-stop even after he stops fighting the only real movements are his muscles reacting to being zapped repeatedly.
What are the effects of using a taser on a person? The Stanford Criminal Justice Center recommends that tasers never be used on children, pregnant women, elderly individuals, people who are mentally ill and/or under the influence of drugs. If you are not supposed to use a taser on the mentally ill, I would think that would include someone who is in distress, anxious and just plainly put, “freaking out.” As for the drugs, if that is true, well, what was the officer thinking? True he didn’t know about the drugs, but there were clear signs of a mental issue. Calling for the assistance of a mental health professional to talk to Keenan and calm him down would have, likely, ended better for everyone.
Instead, the officer decided to zap Keenan with his taser while his fellow officers held him down.
Keenan was shocked multiple times and for an extended duration. As a result, the officer was taking away Keenan’s rights as a human being and torturing him to death, as if we live in medieval times. How barbaric, uncivilized, and inhumane. Not even our own army approves of the use of tasers. The Army’s Occupational Health Sciences Director warned that “seizures and ventricular fibrillation can be induced by the electric current” and that “the practice of using these weapons on U.S. Army military and civilian forces in training is not recommended, given the potential risks.” The United Nations Committee against Torture reports that the use of Tasers can be a form of torture due to the acute pain they cause and warns against the possibility of death in some cases. In Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Paul Howard Jr. said in 2020 that “under Georgia law, a taser is considered a deadly weapon.”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taser_safety_issues . “The deaths have also typically occurred after multiple shocks.” he adds. According to Robert Glatter, MD, an emergency physician in New York City, people who have been tased have suffered seizures and cardiac arrest and dangerous arrhythmia like ventricular fibrillation.” The Stanford report found that the muscle contractions produced by tasing can result in strain-type injuries to organs, joints, tendons, and ligaments. https://www.thehealthy.com/first-aid/what-happens-when-you-get-tased/
What is a seizure? What does it look like?
JohnHopkins https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/epilepsy/types-of-seizures says that seizure symptoms may include a sudden change in awareness or full loss of consciousness, unusual sensations/thoughts, involuntary twitching/stiffness in the body, or severe stiffening and limb shaking w/ loss of consciousness(a convulsion).
Keenan displays symptoms of involuntary twitching, when the “zap-happy” officer thinks he is still resisting and continues to zap him. This officer needs an education on the effects his taser has on the body and to identify them in the field. Stop zapping the person and get medical attention immediately.
We need to educate our police on not just how to use a taser. Procedures also need to be taught (not just in a calm, controlled state but in real-life scenarios where tensions are high and the mental state of people would be, by recommendation, not suitable to tase). Most people, that are likely to be tased, shouldn’t be if the recommendations were followed. What good are recommendations for usage if officers are just going to ignore them or do the exact opposite of what is recommended (the use of Agent Orange and Dioxin during the Vietnam war comes to mind). Let’s consider them to be as lethal and treat them as carefully as their projectile-launching cousin the gun!
What are your thoughts about this?