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Cousin of BLM co-founder who fled police following hit-and-run died from enlarged heart and cocaine use: Coroner's report
Screenshot of Los Angeles Police Department bodycam footage, "Pacific Area ICD 1/3/2023 (NRF002-23)"

Cousin of BLM co-founder who fled police following hit-and-run died from enlarged heart and cocaine use: Coroner's report

Keenan Anderson, the cousin of BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors, died on January 3, hours after a confrontation with police involving the use of a taser.

During the incident, Anderson claimed, "They're trying to George Floyd me."

Anderson's estate later sued the City of Los Angeles and its police force for $50 million, alleging wrongful death and civil rights violations — a suit that was later denied.

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner published its findings Friday concerning the cause and manner of Anderson's death, revealing that an enlarged heart and cocaine use were to blame.

What's the background?

TheBlaze previously reported that around 3:30 p.m. on January 3, police responded to reports of a traffic accident and a man walking on the road, causing a disturbance, at the intersection of Venice Boulevard and Lincoln Boulevard.

Police found Anderson, an English teacher at Digital Pioneers Academy and a driver involved in the accident, in the road "exhibiting erratic behavior."

The officer who made initial contact with Anderson noted that Anderson might have been under the influence.

Anderson initially cooperated with some of the officer's instructions but insisted that some unidentified people were "trying to kill" him.

Despite the officer's repeated requests that he remain seated, Anderson reportedly kept standing up and wandering about.

When the officer requested backup for a DUI investigation, Anderson attempted to flee, running back into the street, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Officers reportedly attempted to subdue Anderson and get him back on the ground, but he resisted, refusing to comply with orders that he turn onto his stomach. Although officers managed to restrain Anderson, he allegedly continued resisting.

Anderson began repeating that "they're trying to kill" him and begging passersby for help, further stressing, "They're trying to George Floyd me."

Eventually, after several more warnings, police tased Anderson.

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore indicated the taser was "activated" 10 times, but that not all deployments were "effective," reported the Guardian.

After being tased, Anderson was treated by responding fire department personnel, around which time he lost consciousness and exhibited labored breathing.

He was taken to a hospital, where he was declared dead several hours later.

Moore indicated Anderson suffered a "medical emergency," noting a preliminary blood test revealed cannabis and cocaine in his system.

L.A. Mayor Karen Bass said on January 11, "Full investigations are underway, and I pledge that the City's investigations into these deaths will be transparent and will reflect the values of Los Angeles. I will ensure that the City’s investigations will drive only toward truth and accountability. Furthermore, the officers involved must be placed on immediate leave."

Patrice Cullors, the multimillionaire co-founder of BLM, said after watching the LAPD footage of the incident, "My cousin was asking for help, and he didn’t receive it. He was killed. ... Nobody deserves to die in fear, panicking and scared for their life. My cousin was scared for his life. He spent the last 10 years witnessing a movement challenging the killing of Black people. He knew what was at stake and he was trying to protect himself. Nobody was willing to protect him."

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) tweeted, "We must not shrink from the need for justice for Keenan Anderson. ... Accountability must be transparent and swift."

Coroner's report and response

The coroner's report stated that the cause of death was "effects of cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart) and cocaine use (death determined hours after restraint and conducted energy device [CED] use)," noting that the "manner of death is undetermined."

According to the County of Los Angeles Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner, an undetermined designation is applied "when there is inadequate information regarding the circumstances of death" and/or "where known information equally supports or conflicts with more than one manner of death or, in cases of unnatural death, when a clear preponderance of evidence supporting a specific manner (homicide, accident, or suicide) is not available."

Mayor Bass stated in response, "The coroner raises questions that still must be answered and I await the result of the investigation already underway. 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."

Bass added, "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."

Patrice Cullors, the multimillionaire co-founder of BLM, maintains that the LAPD killed Anderson.

"All I know and all we know, because we have seen the video, is that my cousin was alive when he flagged the police. He was alive. And after his interaction with the police, he was dead," said Cullors, suggesting the coroner's apparent inability to determine the manner of death was "unacceptable."

The $50 million lawsuit filed on behalf of Anderson's son against the LAPD and the city was previously denied. However, Carl Douglas, attorney for Anderson's estate, suggested they would be filing another lawsuit before month's end, reported the Los Angeles Times.

"Had officers chosen not to tase Mr. Anderson repeatedly on the back side of his heart, he would still be alive today," said Douglas. "And there is nothing that was released by the autopsy report that disputes that conclusion."

"Legally the question is not whether they killed Mr. Anderson, but whether their actions were a substantial factor leading to his death. It doesn’t have to be the only factor. But certainly it was a substantial factor," added Douglas. "There’s no evidence or any indication whatsoever that he would have had a cardiac arrest, a heart attack, had he not been tasered repeatedly."

Hennepin County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker reported that George Floyd, whom Anderson referenced in his struggle with police, similarly had heart issues and drugs in his system at the time of death.

Baker noted Floyd had hypertensive heart disease, “meaning his heart weighed more than it should" and consequently needed more oxygen than a normal heart," reported CNN.

Floyd's autopsy report revealed he had fentanyl, norfentanyl, methamphetamine, cannabis, and morphine in his system.

Baker agreed that "both the heart disease as well as the history of hypertension and the drugs that were in his system played a role in Mr. Floyd’s death."

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.
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