A teacher who was repeatedly shocked with a Taser by Los Angeles police died from an enlarged heart and cocaine use, according to an autopsy report released Friday.
The January 3 death of Keenan Darnell Anderson, 31, prompted an outcry over the Los Angeles Police Department's use of force. It was one of three fatal LAPD confrontations, including two shootings, that took place only days into the new year.
The specific manner of Anderson’s death was undetermined, but the cause was listed as “effects of cardiomyopathy and cocaine use”, and his death was “determined hours after restraint and conducted energy device use,” the coroner’s report said.
The family’s attorney, Carl Douglas, did not immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press Friday evening seeking comment on the report.
Mayor Karen Bass said her thoughts were with Anderson's friends and family "as I know the release of this report will cause them and many Angelenos great pain as they still mourn this loss."
"The coroner raises questions that still must be answered, and I await the result of the investigation already underway,” Bass said in a statement.
Anderson was a high school English teacher in Washington DC and a cousin of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors.
He was visiting family members in Los Angeles when he was stopped on suspicion of causing a hit-and-run traffic accident in the Venice area, police said.
An officer found Anderson “running in the middle of the street and exhibiting erratic behaviour,” according to a police account.
Anderson initially complied with officers as they investigated whether he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but then he bolted, Police Chief Michel Moore said.
Police chased Anderson, and he was shocked with a Taser at least six times during a struggle when he resisted arrest, police said.
“They’re trying to George Floyd me,” Anderson said as an officer threatened to use a stun gun, which was repeatedly deployed seconds later as Anderson was face down on the pavement and begged for help, saying, “I’m not resisting.”
Anderson screamed for help after he was pinned to the street by officers and repeatedly shocked, according to police body camera footage released by the LAPD. Footage also showed an officer pressing his forearm on Anderson’s chest and an elbow in his neck.
“They’re trying to kill me,” Anderson yelled.
After being subdued, Anderson went into cardiac arrest and died at a hospital about four hours later.
His relatives have filed an NZ$82.4 million claim with the city, which is a legal requirement before filing a lawsuit. The claim alleges officers unreasonably used deadly force, failed to follow training and filed false police reports.