Black Lives Matter-led protest takes place in Venice Sunday afternoon
By Sam Catanzaro
More than 200 demonstrators blocked traffic at Venice and Lincoln boulevards on Sunday to protest the deaths of Tyre Nichols in Memphis and Keenan Anderson in LA. Led by Black Lives Matter, protestors locked arms to honor the memory of both victims who had died during arrests.
Anderson, a 31-year-old high school teacher and father, was visiting LA visiting from Washington, D.C. He is the cousin of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors. He was killed after an LAPD response to a hit-and-run call in Venice on January 3.
“We stopped traffic in the middle of one of the biggest intersections in Los Angeles. If that’s what has to happen, that’s what we’re going to do and we’re not going to stop, and we are not afraid of the police,” activist Taylor Rosa told KTLA during Sunday’s protest.
The protest stopped traffic at the intersection, a symbolic part of the demonstration according to Rev. Mark Chase of All Saints Church in Pasadena.
“While Keenan Anderson was being electrocuted by the LAPD, traffic just drove by as if his life did not matter,” Chase told KTLA. “Now, everyone is going to stop. Everyone is stopping since we’re here.”
According to the LAPD, Anderson reportedly caused the January 5 crash and fled, leading to officers’ physical confrontation with him before they used a stun gun multiple times. He was taken into custody and died several hours later at a hospital. An LAPD police report found cocaine and marijuana in his system. No official cause of death has been given, though officials say he did suffer a heart attack.
Moore noted last week that the investigation into Anderson’s death was ongoing. He said Anderson was tased six times during the struggle with officers, a number that raised concerns.
“In my preliminary review of this incident, it’s unclear what the role of that Taser was,” Moore said. “To be clear, it’s dependent on the totality of our investigative resources, but also on medical records from the hospital as well as a coroner’s report and their formal and forensic level examination. As this investigation continues, however, I will pay close attention to the use of the Taser.”
Body camera footage shows Anderson being arrested by the officers, begging for his life while an officer pins him down in the middle of the road and demands Anderson get on his stomach.
“They’re trying to kill me,” Anderson can be heard exclaiming. “They’re trying to George Floyd me!”
An officer then can be heard saying “Stop or I’m going to Tase you,” threatening to use a Taser if Anderson does not get on his stomach. Then as one officer pins Anderson down on the ground with his elbow on Anderson’s throat, another officer uses a Taser on Anderson for an extended period.
Before another officer uses a Taser on Anderson for over around 30 seconds straight, Anderson can again be heard saying that police are “trying to kill me.”
Anderson remained handcuffed in the middle of Venice Boulevard receiving medical assistance before an ambulance arrived and transported him to a local hospital where he died 4.5 hours later. According to the LAPD, Anderson “experienced a medical emergency, did not respond to lifesaving efforts by medical staff and was denounced deceased.”
Attorneys acting on behalf of the five-year-old son of Anderson have filed a lawsuit against the city, seeking damages in the amount of $50 million.
The Memphis Police Department Monday confirmed that Officer Preston Hemphill, hired in 2018, has been disciplined for his involvement in the investigation into the death of Tyre Nichols. The city’s fire department also announced Monday evening that two EMTs and a lieutenant had been terminated due to their own internal investigation into the case. Nichols was pulled over on Jan. 7 and seen on police video being brutally beaten by officers, before dying three days later in the hospital. Five officers involved have now been fired and charged with murder. These five former officers – Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin III and Desmond Mills Jr. – have been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault-acting in concert, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of official misconduct and one count of official oppression. All are out on bail.
Nichols and the five charged former officers are Black while Hemphill is white.