VENICE—Police officers responding to a hit-and-run accident on January 3, pursued the suspect of a hit-and-run accident at Venice and Lincoln. The suspect, cousin of Black Lives Matter (BLM) co-founder, identified as Keenan Anderson, crashed his car and took off running from police while under the influence of cocaine and other drugs. Officers tased Anderson after resisting arrest and he died hours later in a nearby hospital. 

According to an LAPD news release, at around 3:38 p.m, a West Traffic Division motor officer was flagged down by Anderson – seen running in the middle of the street, exhibiting erratic behavior – for a traffic collision that occurred near the Deus Ex Machina store on Lincoln and Venice. Anderson motioned to the officer where the collision was – several individuals involved in the collision indicated that Anderson was the driver that caused the incident. The officer made contact with Anderson, verbalized with him and requested additional units for a DUI investigation. 

Upon additional units arriving at the scene, Anderson became increasingly agitated and attempted to flee westbound on Venice, running into the middle of the street. As officers caught up to him, he proceeded to resist arrest and after several minutes of struggle, officers deployed a TASER, bodyweight, firm grips and joint locks to overcome his resistance. 

After being tased, Anderson could be seen handcuffed, hobbled at the ankles, and was rendered medical aid by the Los Angeles Fire Department personnel for the TASER deployment, and transferred to a local hospital in Santa Monica. At around 8:15 p.m., Anderson went into cardiac arrest and was declared deceased at the hospital. 

A “Critical Incident Community Briefing” video released and edited by the Los Angeles Police Department, displays body cam footage from several officers, as well as a witness video of the incident. In the body cam footage, Anderson displays erratic and noncompliant behavior. Before the TASER is used, officers can be heard warning Anderson several times that he will be tased if he continues to resist.

In a witness video of the incident, a citizen can be heard in the background stating, “That guy right there, he caused that accident. He was trying to steal my car…the police is doing the right job right now.” A different citizen can be heard stating “I think that guy is in a very paranoid state.”

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 their own independent toxicology tests. 

Anderson, a father and a tenth grade English teacher at Digital Pioneers Academy in Washington DC, was apparently on winter vacation visiting his family in Los Angeles. “The details of his death are as disturbing as they are tragic,” the school’s founder, Mashea Ashton said in a statement, adding, “Keenan was a deeply committed educator and father of a six-year-old son. … He was beloved by all.”

Keenan Anderson with his son.

Anderson was a resident of Washington D.C. and is the cousin of Black Lives Matter co-founder, Patrisse Cullors. Cullors admitted to secretly purchasing a $6 million mansion with funds raised off of the upset over George Floyd’s death in 2020. The funds have yet been used to better Black communities.

The Los Angeles Police Department is conducting a use of force investigation into the death of Anderson, who was 31 years of age.