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Home / Neighborhood / Los Angeles / LAPD union criticizes commission ruling on Keenan Anderson death

LAPD union criticizes commission ruling on Keenan Anderson death

by City News Service
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The union representing Los Angeles Police Department officers Wednesday criticized a city commission ruling that found some actions of five officers involved in the death of a man who was subjected to repeated electric shocks during a confrontation in Venice early this year violated department policy.

“We strongly disagree with these politically influenced findings, each responding officer acted responsibly in dealing with Mr. (Keenan) Anderson who was high on cocaine and ran into traffic after fleeing a car accident he caused,” according to a statement from the Los Angeles Police Protective League Board of Directors.

“The coroner confirmed (Anderson) was not Tased but rather drive-stunned when he refused to follow simple directions while in the middle of a busy street. Mr. Anderson and Mr. Anderson alone was responsible for what occurred,” the statement continued.

Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles and Black Lives Matter Grassroots, spoke with Dominique DiPrima on “First Things First” KBLA 1580 Wednesday morning and called the city Police Commission’s determinations about the officers’ actions a “victory.”

According to BLM, while the ruling is important, the group will continue to rally for justice in Anderson’s name. She added BLM will continue to demand that LAPD officers police be removed from traffic stops, and call on the city of Los Angeles to invest in mental health and housing resources.

Abdullah said she expects the officers involved in the Anderson confrontation to be fired because it’s “consistent with what the police (commission) recommended.” But she noted that LAPD officers can appeal to a Board of Rights — the disciplinary appeal board that has the ultimate say in whether officers accused of serious misconduct are punished.

In a closed session Tuesday, the Los Angeles Police Commission analyzed the actions of officers Joshua Coombs, Stephen Feldman, Christopher Walters, Rasheen Ford and Jaime Fuentes to determine whether their response to a Jan. 3 traffic stop in Venice, where Keenan Anderson, a teacher from Washington, D.C., was shocked with stun guns multiple times.

Anderson, 31, was taken to a hospital and later died. The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner ruled that he died from the effects of an enlarged heart and cocaine use.

The Police Commission’s analysis of the confrontation covered various aspects, including the officers’ de-escalation tactics, the use of the stun gun, and the pressure officers applied to Anderson’s neck during efforts to restrain him.

The five-member commission determined Coombs, Feldman and Walters’ use of force to be within department policy. The commission deemed Ford and Fuentes’ use of force — applying pressure to Anderson’s neck in nine separate instances during their response — not within policy.

The commissioners also deemed Fuentes’ use of his stun gun as excessive — saying he used his stun gun on Anderson six times in less than a minute.

All five of the officers were found to be in violation of department policy on certain tactics and uniform violations.

The commissioners did not disclose whether the officers, if any, will face discipline. That decision will ultimately fall to Chief Michel Moore, and the Board of Rights if appeals are filed.

Anderson, a cousin of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, was in the Los Angeles area visiting relatives during the Christmas season when he was involved in a traffic collision at Lincoln and Venice boulevards and allegedly tried to run away.

Anderson was allegedly observed “making erratic statements and appeared agitated,” police said.

According to the autopsy report, Anderson fled on foot and was restrained by multiple officers who used wrist locks, hobbling techniques and a CED, or stun gun.

“External analysis of the discharged CED revealed probes were deployed without skin impact and that trigger activations were discharged to Mr. Anderson’s back,” the report said.

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