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LAPD chief expresses deep concern towards string of fatal police encounters

LAPD begins year with series of encounters that ended with three men dying
LAPD begins year with series of encounters that ended with three men dying 04:26

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore expressed his deep concern regarding a series of fatal use of force incidents occurring over a two-day span in the first days of 2023.

"These cluster of events, while miles apart, deeply concern me," Moore said. "I know it did [concern] the families involved as well as the community."

From Jan. 2-3, three men died after encountering LAPD officers: two of whom were shot to death and another suffered cardiac arrest at a hospital after being tasered by police.

Moore released the body cam videos depicting the deaths of the three men earlier than legally obligated.

"My commitment to the families is not just the condolences though. It's my commitment to ensure the greatest transparency as possible, as much as the law allows, to include the details of the investigation as well as the findings and my recommendations, eventually, regarding the actions of our people," he said.

An LAPD motorcycle officer questions Keenan Anderson after a traffic collision in Marina del Rey LAPD

The fatal incident that garnered the most attention was the death of English teacher Keenan Anderson, the cousin of Black Lives Matter founder Patrisse Cullors. 

On Jan. 3, in Marina del Rey, police responded to a traffic collision at the intersection of Venice and Lincoln Boulevards and encountered Anderson running in the busy intersection. In the body camera footage, Anderson seemed to exhibit erratic behavior and seemed visibly distressed, claiming that someone was trying to kill him and was trying to "put stuff" in his car.

A motorcycle officer directed Anderson to move to the sidewalk in front of a nearby store and asked him to explain the situation. During this interaction, the officer reported that Anderson seemed to be under the influence. 

After several minutes Anderson ran from the officer, bolting through the road once again. Once the officer caught up to Anderson, along with backup, the group tried to detain him in the middle of the road, tasering him several times as he cried out "I'm not resisting" and called for help.

"They're trying to George Floyd me," Anderson uttered as the four officers tried to place him in custody. "They're trying to kill me."

Police used the taser on Anderson a handful of times as they tried to place him in handcuffs.

During the struggle, Anderson referred to the officers as "actors."

"This is an act," he yelled. "They're not police ... They tried to kill me."

Anderson called out for "C Lo" after officers restrained him and later shouted that "they think I killed C Lo."

"They're trying to sedate me," he said shortly after. "I know too much ... They sedated me."

After he was restrained, paramedics took Anderson to a Santa Monica hospital where he into cardiac arrest and later died. LAPD said that they discovered Cocaine Metabolite and Cannabinoids in Anderson's blood. 

The two fatal shootings happened on Jan. 2 and Jan. 3 in Westlake and South L.A., respectively. 

"I have grave concerns about the deeply disturbing tapes that were released today," said Mayor Karen Bass. "My heart goes out to the families and loved ones who are mourning the loss of Takar Smith, Keenan Anderson and Oscar Sanchez." 

Family members of those that died are demanding accountability including Anderson's cousin. Fellow BLM LA co-founder Melina Abdullah echoed Cullors' sentiments.

"Keenan Anderson said they are trying to George Floyd me," she said. "And guess what happened — they did."

Moore promised a full investigation into each incident. He added that he will look closely at whether officers followed guidelines in how to handle encounters with people undergoing mental health issues. 

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