LOS ANGELES, Ca. - The family of a D.C. teacher who died after being tased by LAPD is filing a $50 million claim for damages against the City of Los Angeles.
Keenan Anderson was a 10th-grade teacher at Digital Pioneers Academy. His family says he was a father, brother, son and loving friend.
Anderson was visiting family in Los Angeles earlier this month – when he flagged down an officer for a car crash on Jan. 3 near Venice and Lincoln Boulevards.
The officer said that Anderson was acting erratically when he arrived at the scene and that he observed him running in the middle of the street.
Witnesses also told the LAPD Anderson caused the crash.
The officer spoke with Anderson and called in additional units for a DUI investigation.
LAPD officials said as more units arrived, Anderson ran away from the scene, leading to a foot chase on the eastbound lanes of Venice Blvd. A short time later, officers contacted Anderson who they say began to resist. That's when officers used a Taser – six times in 42 seconds on Anderson.
The family and their attorneys, Carl Douglas and Ben Crump, are now wondering why that had to happen.
"If you tase someone with 50,000 watts of electrical energy six times in the heart, is there really any wonder that moments later his heart would begin to flutter?" Douglas said. "Is there really any wonder that moments later his heart would begin to beat erratically? And is there any wonder why four hours later his heart could no longer withstand the pressure from that Taser and gave out?"
Douglas announced the damages claim at a news conference along with noted civil-rights attorney Ben Crump, who represented the family of George Floyd in Minnesota.
There was no immediate comment from city officials on the claim. LAPD Chief Michel Moore addressed Anderson's death last week at a news conference, saying a full investigation was being conducted. He said he was particularly interested in the repeated use of the Taser.
Anderson was handcuffed at the scene and "hobbled at the ankles." After being taken into custody, firefighters with the Los Angeles Fire Department were called to the scene, and rendered medical aid after a Taser was deployed. He was taken to a Santa Monica hospital where he went into cardiac arrest and died, authorities said.
Anderson died four hours after the incident. Preliminary toxicology reports say there was marijuana and cocaine in his blood.
The Los Angeles Police Protective League issued the following statement regarding the $50 million claim:
"Minor auto accidents are usually handled with an exchange of information between the drivers and a call to one’s insurance carrier. On the other hand, when an individual who is high on cocaine is in an accident, tries to open the car door of an innocent driver, and then flees the scene by running into traffic, police officers must act. We demand that the Chief of Police release the missing 7-minutes of body-worn camera video (6:05 mark of Critical Incident Video) that will capture the entire episode with Mr. Anderson. We believe the missing video will confirm that Mr. Anderson was the one who escalated this tragic incident that his family and Mr. Crump are now trying to shamelessly profit from."
The Los Angeles Police Protective League says they stand behind their officers.
In addition to Anderson's death, two other suspects have died after interactions with police during the first week of the month. Their deaths have prompted calls from city leaders and protesters to bring in mental health clinicians to the scene.
FOX 11 LA contributed to this report.