Lawyers for the 5-year-old son of a man who died after LAPD tased him multiple times after a traffic accident filed a $50 million lawsuit Friday for damages to the city.
Legal action is needed before Keenan Anderson’s son and estate can sue the LAPD for wrongful death and civil rights violations for holding him down and tasing him six times in less than a minute on Jan. 3.
“If you shock someone with 50,000 watts of electricity six times with a stun gun … is it really surprising that after a few moments his heart will begin to flutter?” This was stated at a press conference by lawyer Carl Douglas. “Is it any wonder why four hours later his heart could no longer withstand the pressure of the stun gun and gave up, leaving behind a 5-year-old boy?”
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Anderson’s son, Sinzer Kai Anderson, who acted alongside his mother, Gabrielle Hansell, his estate manager, and their lawyers.
Anderson, 31, a high school English teacher in Washington DC and cousin of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrissa Cullors, was a suspect in a traffic accident when he was pulled over by police in Venice. He later ran away from the police and resisted arrest, police said.
According to a video released by the department, Anderson screamed for help after officers pinned him to the street and repeatedly electrocuted him.
“They’re trying to kill me,” Anderson shouted.
The footage shows the officer pressing his forearm to Anderson’s chest and his elbow to that neck.
“They are trying to punish me with George Floyd,” Anderson said, referring to a black man killed by officers in Minnesota.
“We can only guess what Keenan Anderson had in mind,” said attorney Ben Crump. “But if he meant that at the end of the confrontation he would die at the hands of the Los Angeles Police Department, then Keenan Anderson was right. They are his George Floyd.”
Chief Michelle Moore said Anderson initially deferred to officers as they investigated whether he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. But he was subdued after fighting the officers who were chasing him when he escaped.
According to Douglas, Anderson ran in fear, as did the other blacks, when additional officers rushed towards him, responding to a call for reinforcements.
The statement said the officers used unreasonable lethal force, carelessly and mistakenly used a stun gun, had not been trained in the hazards of suffocation by handcuffing Anderson, and colluded with each other to cover up and misrepresent information in false police reports.
According to the chief, an LAPD toxicology test found cocaine and cannabis in Anderson’s body. The coroner’s office will also issue a toxicology report.
The officers have yet to be named, but their union issued a statement saying the family and lawyers were “trying to shamelessly cash in” on the “tragic incident”.
An LAPD spokesman declined to comment, citing a policy of not commenting on the pending lawsuit.
After being subdued, Anderson went into cardiac arrest and died in hospital about four hours later.