Keenan Anderson death: Police commission to decide whether to take action against 5 LAPD officers

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Thursday, October 26, 2023
Panel considers action against officers in Keenan Anderson's death
A Los Angeles city commission is set to decide whether to take disciplinary action against five police officers who were involved in the death of Keenan Anderson.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles Police Commission is set to decide whether to take disciplinary action against five police officers who were involved in the death of Keenan Anderson.

In a closed session Tuesday, the 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 Washington, D.C. teacher, was shocked with Tasers 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.

Before Wednesday's commission meeting, members of Keenan's family and Black Lives Matter held a news conference outside LAPD headquarters in downtown. The relatives and activists called for the commissioners to determine the officers were at fault in Anderson's death.

"Keenan deserves to be alive," said Anderson's cousin, Patrisse Cullors, her voice choked with emotion. "Police officers must be held accountable for harming, abusing and killing our loved ones."

The Police Commission's analysis of the confrontation covered various aspects, including the officers' de-escalation tactics, the use of the Taser, 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.

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The commissioners also deemed Fuentes' use of his Taser as excessive -- saying he used his Taser 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 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."

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

"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.

The commission's findings are expected to be released sometime Thursday.

City News Service contributed to this report.