The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner— Coroner determined Keenan Anderson, who died in LAPD custody January 3, may have been caused by cardiomyopathy, or an enlarged heart, and cocaine use.
Anderson, 31, was a cousin of Black Lives Matter (BLM) co-founder Patrisse Cullors and was arrested for what LAPD said was a possible DUI incident.
Arresting officers deployed a taser on Anderson for more than 42 seconds before he was transported to Santa Monica Medical Center and pronounced dead that same day.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore expedited the police bodycam footage of the incident as public concern increased days after Anderson’s death.
Protests and vigils led by BLM ensued on the corner of Venice Boulevard and Lincoln Boulevard where Anderson was arrested and taken into custody.
BLM often pointed to the deaths of Anderson, Takar Smith and Oscar Leon, all of whom died in police custody in January, as a rallying cry against LAPD. The organization also said the footage of the Anderson incident was “highly edited,” as the several minutes of footage where the responding officer waited for backup were not shown in the released video.
After releasing the incident footage, Chief Moore said he would “pay close attention” to the officer’s use of a taser on Anderson.
LAPD use of force has been a point of contention since the George Floyd protests in 2020. Since then, the department has made changes to its officer training, as well as putting an emphasis on the deployment of crisis response teams when applicable.
“I remain committed to expanding the public safety system to include health professionals and to ensuring LAPD officers receive the best possible training to assist people in crisis,” Los Angeles Mayor Karen bass said Monday. “Keenan Anderson was a father, a son, a brother, a cousin, and an educator of young people. He was loved and he is missed.”
While the coroner’s report provided a cause of death for Anderson, the manner of death is still being investigated.
“The coroner raises questions that still must be answered and I await the result of the investigation already underway,” Bass said. “I know that in this time of pain it sometimes feels like there is no hope, but we must turn the pain into concrete, substantive change – and we will.”
Anderson hailed from Washington D.C. and was in Los Angeles visiting family for the new year.
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