On Wednesday, in Los Angeles, California, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) released body camera footage of the fatal law enforcement tasering of Keenan Anderson, a 31-year-old Black educator and father.
In response to the release of this footage, Legal Defense Fund (LDF) Associate Director-Counsel Tona Boyd issued the following statement:
“We extend our deepest condolences to Mr. Keenan Anderson’s family and community in the wake of his senseless and tragic death. Despite already being restrained by multiple officers — who immobilized his legs, kneeled on his back, and proceeded to handcuff him — Mr. Anderson was nevertheless repeatedly tasered. An LAPD officer tased Mr. Anderson six to seven times for approximately 45 seconds – an unconscionable length of time that is inconsistent with widely supported guidelines by law enforcement organizations such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Police Executive Research Forum. That this happened in response to a traffic collision, when Mr. Anderson was unarmed and presented no threat to officers at all, makes the force used by officers inexcusable.
“This is yet another example of the ways in which law enforcement officers often escalate a situation through violence and brutal force during incidents in which armed personnel need not be involved at all. It also underscores the need for policymakers to prioritize the implementation of effective alternative responses to incidents where there is no actual threat to public safety to compassionately respond and provide needed services without resorting to violence.
“Officially, the LAPD has already killed three people this year, in less than two weeks, including Mr. Anderson. We commend newly-elected Mayor Karen Bass for her stated commitment to hold law enforcement officers accountable for violations of policy or law, and for calling out the need for structural change and reform to prevent these tragic losses of life. We will continue to monitor the LAPD’s conduct and any developments in the investigation of this incident.”
Founded in 1940, the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is the nation’s first civil rights law organization. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Please note that LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights.