‘They’re Trying to George Floyd Me’: Teacher and Cousin of Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Killed by LAPD

Yves here. The Los Angeles Police Department has a long-standing, very bad relationship with the community, particularly the black community. Even though this story indicates a suspect decided to leave the scene of a car accident, the police had him on the ground and completely under their control when they Tasered him to death. This is an execution, pure and simple. I hope the police officers who did this rot.

By Jake Johnson, staff writer at Common Dreams. Originally published at Common Dreams

Harrowing video footage released this week shows officers with the Los Angeles Police Department forcibly restraining and repeatedly using a Taser on 31-year-old Keenan Anderson—a high school teacher and cousin of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors—following a traffic accident.

Soon thereafter, Anderson was transported to a local hospital where he suffered cardiac arrest and died.

Footage of the incident shows one LAPD officer holding Anderson down with an elbow on his neck while another, wielding a Taser, yells orders for Anderson to turn over.

“I can’t,” Anderson says as he struggles to breathe. “They’re trying to George Floyd me.”

Seconds later, one of the officers uses the Taser on Anderson several times as he pleads for help.

Watch (warning: the video is disturbing):

Anderson, who was visiting Los Angeles on winter break, was a 10th grade English teacher at the Digital Pioneers Academy in Washington, D.C.

In a statement, the school said it is “deeply saddened” by Anderson’s death and called the details of the police encounter “as disturbing as they are tragic.”

“Keenan is the third person killed by the Los Angeles Police Department in 2023, and we’re 12 days into the new year,” the statement notes, referring to the police killings of 45-year-old Takar Smith and 35-year-old Oscar Sanchez earlier this month.

Last year, U.S. police killed at least 1,176 people, the highest number on record. A Reutersinvestigation published in 2017 showed that “more than 1,000 people in the U.S. have died after police stunned them with Tasers, and the stun gun was ruled to be a cause or contributing factor in 153 of those deaths.”

“Keenan’s family deserves justice,” the Digital Pioneers Academy said in its statement. “And our students deserve to live, to live without fear, and to have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential.”

Cullors, the Black Lives Matter co-founder, said in an interview with The Guardian that “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,” Cullors continued. “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.”

Summarizing the video footage released by the LAPD, The Guardian‘s Sam Levin reportedthat “an officer who first arrived to the car collision at around 3:30 pm at Venice and Lincoln boulevards found Anderson in the middle of the road, saying, ‘Please help me.'”

“The officer told him to go on the sidewalk, and issued commands, saying, ‘Get up against the wall,'” Levin noted. “Anderson held his hands up, responding, ‘I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry.’ Anderson complied with the officer’s commands and sat down on the sidewalk. After a few minutes, he appeared to be concerned with the officer’s behavior, saying, ‘I want people to see me,’ and ‘You’re putting a thing on me.’ Eventually, Anderson started to flee, at which point the officer chased him on his motorcycle, shouting, ‘Get down to the ground, now,’ and ‘Turn over on your stomach.’ Anderson repeatedly responded, ‘Please help me,’ and ‘They’re trying to kill me,’ as multiple officers arrived and held him down.”

In a statement issued Wednesday following the release of the video footage, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said she has “grave concerns about the deeply disturbing tapes.”

“Full investigations are underway,” said Bass. “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.”

“No matter what these investigations determine, however, the need for urgent change is clear,” the mayor continued. “We must reduce the use of force overall, and I have absolutely no tolerance for excessive force.”

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    1. Jeff

      Completely agree with qualified immunity -it needs to go. That being said, I’ve lived in LA County for 22 years, and fortunately policing has improved. Post Rodney King, LAPD made notable improvements in community policing like keeping officers on the same beat instead of shifting them around. The awareness of who “their” cops are when interactions occur helps residents in high crime areas to start establishing relationships/trust with cops. Small thing that has helped quite a bit.

      Anecdotal experience with police in LA is very hit and miss. Just like with docs, car mechanics and roofers. Professional cops need our support to root out the thugs in their ranks.

      Our rush to judgement is at our own peril. Have we really not learned this yet?

      1. cat pop

        My sister was a social worker in LA county and she started the job as a mostly apolitical liberal and left as someone who was glad Michael Dorner killed the cops because of the brutality she witnessed inflicted on her clients by the police. Most of the brutality is swept under the rug and never reported. You haven’t a clue what you’re talking about.

          1. AM

            Your entire comment starts with “I’ve lived in LA for” so take that anecdata nonsense elsewhere.

            1. Jeff

              That’s fair. I don’t rely on single source relatives feeding me their takes on organizational dysfunction to form an opinion. Cat does.

              Just stay in your bubble. You’ll be happier there.

      2. Devon

        “Professional cops need our support to root out the thugs in their ranks.”

        How do they need our support when they won’t even oust the problem-makers? Whenever something like this goes down, all the cops form the thin blue line rather than working to ensure that the trouble cops are kicked off the force. These cops are going to be put on paid leave and then reinstated after this all dies down.

  1. Veritea

    Unlike many police videos it looks to me like the officers did nearly everything they reasonably could to deescalate the situation. I would guess that a postmortem drug test will show the guy was high on something, he was acting exceptionally erratic and his answers didn’t make any sense.

    The officers didn’t use the taser until three of them were unable to cuff him after nearly two minutes of wrestling with him on the ground. This probably speaks to the importance of requiring officers to be above average in size and strength because their physical weakness is what caused them to resort to the taser. To be fair to them though, he looked like a pretty physically fit guy.

    The phone video provides a bit of context – the guy stopped his car in traffic, tried to steal another car from an Uber driver, thought people were trying to kill him – highly paranoid behavior.

    The only area that seems like a possible fault on the part of the police is tasing him again (I count only once post-cuffing) after he was cuffed but was still struggling. Once the cuffs were on the three of them could have managed him.

    If there is one area police really need to improve it is their constant ego-driven need for submission. It should never be an ego thing. There are orders they give that need to be obeyed, and some that do not. We need a mechanism to help them understand that they never have a right to use any force in a situation where obedience is not mandatory. Once the guy was in cuffs and restrained by three officers the demand for further submission was just pure ego.

    Clearly he had prior heart damage and the drugs he was on combined with the stress from the arrest cause the heart failure. The majority of the problem here was his either vaccine-damaged or COVID-damaged heart that was a time bomb set to go off on his next high stress incident. This just happened to be the one that did it.

    Sudden cardiac death is going around and striking physically fit individuals particularly hard these days.

    The poor guy was probably hallucinating the whole time and thought he as being chased by people trying to kill him. I don’t think he had the capacity to know he was resisting arrest given his mental state.

    1. juno mas

      Haven’t watched the video. LATimes reports the man was Tased 10x’s.

      The police chief, Moore, is up for a new contract (5 yrs.), but this is the perfect time to move on from this guy. (He protected officers who shot non-lethal objects at the genitals of a passive street protester— the victim still can’t walk.)

      I was at a recent incident in Santa Barbara where a similarly wild event occurred. The police used a roped bolo-like device that they threw at his legs. It wrapped around his ankles. He fell to the ground. Several officers rushed him, picked him up, and trundle him into a waiting padded van. All in about 10 minutes.

      Taser’s are not non-lethal.

    2. CanCyn

      Are you kidding? Black man in police encounter acts erratically and you jump to drug use!!??? He was scared for his life, that more easily explains the incoherence and struggles.

      1. CanCyn

        OK. So I watched the footage in the link Bflat provided below. Not to the end, but to the point where the other officers arrive. It does look like the guy was agitated about something before the cop came on the scene. Regardless, why TF can’t 4 police officers subdue someone without using a taser? I have a friend whose ex has some mental health problems. He once had a psychotic episode and police had to be called. It did take 4 cops to subdue him but no tasers needed. Guess what? He is white! No one should die on the street at the hands of the cops who unless they are armed and shooting at them. One of the other killings committed by LAPD this year was a guy who had violated a restraining order. The woman who called police said warned the dispatcher that the guy was Schizophrenic and off his meds. Warned and yet still he died.
        There is something tragically wrong with the US police system. It is called racism. It is furthered by the militarization of police forces everywhere. And it seems to me that no one who could cares to do anything to stop it

        1. Felix_47

          Maybe we can learn from the Chinese. I saw a video some time ago of some guy violating a road block for COVID in China. He was acting just like some street guy in LA. The police were in isolation drapes. They did not want to get near him. When the guy got out of the car and took a few steps you see this giant butterfly net with a long handle land on his head and tighten up around his neck. The cop snuck up on him from the other side of the car. They could lead him to the police car just with the handle. Seemed like to problem was solved. I think they do something like that with alligators. Getting up close and personal with people that are not acting rationally and may be on toxic levels of drugs is not a great strategy…..

      2. B flat

        He *was* scared for his life, yes, but also had cocaine and pot in his system ratcheting up his anxiety.

        1. CanCyn

          I have another comment in moderation where I admit he seems agitated. But he never once threatened those cops and he should not be dead.

        2. John Zelnicker

          B flat – “but also had cocaine and pot in his system ratcheting up his anxiety”

          You know this how? Please provide a link or other evidence.

            1. Fiery Hunt

              Damn, I’m appreciating you B flat!

              Don’t know how long you’ve been commenting on here but certainly, I’ve gotta say “Welcome! Keep bringing it…”

            2. John Zelnicker

              B flat – Thank you.

              Now I know what to expect from you and won’t have to worry about your sources.

    3. TimH

      “…their physical weakness is what caused them to resort to the taser”

      Sorry, no. Taser is NOT for compliance or punishment. It’s a less-lethal weapon.

    4. TimmyB

      Could you explain the basis of your medical diagnosis of prior heart damage? What symptoms did you see prior to seven Taser shocks being applied to Mr. Anderson’s chest by the LAPD?

  2. B Flat

    It’s painful to watch especially knowing this young man died, but having watched police cam on several officers, this is *not* another George Floyd, IMO.

      1. ChiGal

        interesting that this official release by the police doesn’t include footage of when they tased him; certainly it shows he was paranoid and resistant, perhaps for good reason…

        Veritrea above nails it: once he was cuffed and on the ground they needed to immediately deescalate the situation by being calm and reassuring like the first cop who encountered him initially was, but instead they continued to bark orders and threaten to tase him, which made him increasingly frantic until they did in fact pump enough electricity into his body to stop his heart.

        the guy obviously didn’t have a weapon and the only threat he presented was to their activated drive for domination.

        1. B flat

          Now, the footage I saw very early this morning showed body cam footage from several different officers. It showed the tasing itself. Anderson was highly agitated. He was told to like down on his belly, which he did for a second then rolled back, struggling and trying to get up and run. They warned him repeatedly he would be tased if he didn’t stop struggling. Look, this is horrific, I’m genuinely saddened this young man died. But as a black woman who lives part time in California, I know that if a cop says stop, you stop. A lot of these police are ex military, they’re not officer friendly if you fight, run, appear to go for a weapon, etc.

          1. B flat

            This is the footage from LAPD showing multiple body cam footage. At one point, Anderson talks incoherently about doing a stunt, and then later when he’s on the ground, he calls the cops actors and something about YouTube. He also appears to be panting from the stress even before getting tased. In the circumstances I can see why the cops tased him once, twice – but the tase looks gratuitous. All three were applied to his left shoulder blade.

            1. ChiGal

              thanks, this is the most complete video I have seen, providing footage from multiple body cams as well as a bystander, better than the first one you posted and MUCH better than what Yves posted sadly.

              I agree with you, he was in a state of active psychosis and the cops were clearly aware of this and for the most part attempted to subdue him without escalating him further, but when with the superhuman strength of someone fighting for his life (because to him it was not a traffic stop, he was fixated on the idea that they were arresting him for the murder of the rapper Cee Lo) he despite being on the ground was able to prevent them from getting the cuffs around his wrists—then ultimately the tasing may have been excessive, though it does not appear to me that he was actually tased again once they got the cuffs on. There was no kicking or punching or choking, one of them even told another to watch his elbow as it slipped from the shoulder toward the neck as the guy writhed around.

              just plain sad and more a reflection of the state of the society we are all attempting to function in than the personal attributes of the particular individuals involved, Keenan and cops alike.

              fixing blame on any of these individuals is facile scapegoating I would say.

              and now I’m done with this thread! that’s why I rarely comment anymore, it’s time consuming to do it well!

              1. ambrit

                Thanks for taking the time here. I did not see any mention of the subject’s erratic behaviour in the initial news mentions.
                Yes, this is a commentary on our times. The poor man was “messed up enough” to trigger an escalation. However, in my defense and the defense of those of us who so vehemently opposed the ‘push back,’ the reaction of a blanket immunity suggested for the uniformed Organs of State Security here was extreme in the other direction. Nuance and serial analysis were lacking.
                Especially in policing, emotion must be suppressed. Whenever I have reacted to a stressful situation emotionally, chaos and disaster have often been the result. It is a learned behaviour.
                Stay safe up there!

              2. KFritz

                Excellent synopsis ChiGal, thanks. The twin abundances of powerful stimulant drugs and semiautomatic weapons are the worst technical dangers to police in 2023. These police officers did a pretty good job subduing this individual–and he was speaking with relative ease after the tasing was over.

                Related observation 1: since most physical conflict ends up on the ground, the police need to recruit suitable individuals with backgrounds in jiu jitsu and wrestling–or spend the time to teach necessary fundamentals. Easier said than done!

                Related observation 2 (personal): I’m 6 ft 240 lbs, and able to tolerate blunt force trauma–but extremely sensitive to electrical current. An acupuncturist who treated patients with low voltage electricity through the needles attempted to apply ordinary current to my leg. When he flipped the switch, my leg shot up 90 degrees and it hurt. All were fortunate there was no soft tissue damage from the violence of the motion. The biggest danger posed by tasers is what it can do to sensitive individuals. I’ve seen videos with just as much tasing as this one in which the shocked perps came through intact.

                Final afterthought: after timing all the various videos, the tasing lasted a little less than a minute and stopped almost simultaneously with the police securing the handcuffs.

            2. Soredemos

              Help me, but I’m going to actually say there is some nuance to this case. It genuinely seems the guy was on something and was being strange. He may have insisted he wasn’t resisting, but if they were struggling that much to put cuffs on him, yeah, he was resisting. He may have honestly belived he wasn’t though (this is also not the first time there’s been a case where someone who was not complying kept insisting that they were).

              But also, I deal with people off their rockers like this multiple times a week. The cops shouldn’t have been trying to force him to bend to their will like that. Unless he was literally running around with a knife or something, he wasn’t an immediate danger. I get that he was trying to jack cars, but that still doesn’t meet the standard I would set for physically subduing him. The first reactions to someone being erratic and weird shouldn’t be to shoot them or wrestle them to the ground. Those should be follow up steps that you resort to after having called in the behavioral specialist that a department like the LAPD should have at least a hundred of on permanent payroll.

              Whether the tasing when they couldn’t wrestle him down was justified or not is a debate that misses the larger point that he shouldn’t have been pinned to the ground like that in the first place.

              1. Fiery Hunt

                You know, that’s an interesting point to discuss.

                Dude’s obviously in distress, not clear thinking….is take down, handcuff, control physically the answer?

                In all cases?

                I’m gonna say No, not in all cases.

                On Ventura in LA?

                OH, Hell yes.
                Too many innocent people around.

                1. Yves Smith Post author

                  He does not have a weapon. He’s supine with a cop pinning a shoulder before they try to get him to turn over.

                  Or are you trying to convince me he breathes fire and is therefore a threat? Help me.

          2. Fiery Hunt

            Thank you for this comment!

            Too many people can’t understand that every Black death during a police encounter isn’t always the cop’s fault.

            1. juno mas

              Well, it’s the un-armed Black death that is the issue. White guys with military style weapons slaughtering Black folks at the grocery store didn’t get shot dead (a deserved fate). That’s what I don’t understand!

              1. Fiery Hunt

                White shooters tend to surrender.
                Black suspects tend to fight (pose an ongoing threat as perceived by said armed cops). And while we’re tossing out generalities, I’d point out that half the cops in this specific encounter were BLACK.

                And by the way, there’s no such “slaughtering” happening.

                None of this a huge mystery.

                  1. KFritz

                    In case you’re still reading, here’s an analogous jumping off point. A friend of mine drives for a well-run urban public bus company. He’s white, and bigotry is no part of his makeup. During my friend’s training, his African-American male trainer emphasized to the trainees that they are not to argue with the public, especially to collect fares from customers because such arguments often end with injury to the driver and paid sick/disability leave covered by the company. He made a point that the group that has the worst record of contention with dangerous customers is African-American women–I assume he added this info as a way of saying,”We’re talking to everybody, but especially to you.”

  3. Paul Collis

    It’s a no win situation for the Police.
    Yes they regularly over step their authority, regularly use excessive force, but look at what they are up against.
    There is very little respect shown to their given authority, so it’s little wonder, that at times, things get out of hand.
    The police in the US are up against armed assailants daily, drugged up lunatics daily.
    These perpetrators know the system, if they comply with authorities instructions, most get no more than a few bruises. If you resist, you are responsible for the outcome, even if you die.

    Far too many people know their rights, very few know their obligations!
    Citizens obligations start with not breaking the law, and if you get caught, you are obliged to go through the system, which starts with arrest. So go quietly and have your day in court.

    1. BeliTsari

      I’m NOT sorry to say, that’s idiotic. I’m EXCEEDING white, old, working-class & straight and I’ve personally witnessed any number of totally unnecessary police beatings, gassing (including myself & my partner) watched a friend’s mom intentionally hit by a Philly police cruiser, a co-worker badly beaten; a motorist in Birmingham, beaten while several of us upstreamed), an elderly white lady’s hand mangled in Times Square; a kid shot at with a .44Mag revolver in a crowded shopping mall (he turned-out, totally innocent of shop-lifting). A city councilwoman candidate molested & abused during a totally bullshit harassment for “walking down the wrong street at night, while a Black female,” and simply a SHITLOAD of NYPD jumping off scooters on us (Black, white & Latino) here and massed PR-24, flails, LRAD, ridiculously potent peppergassing directly in old folks faces & being thrown into black Ford sedans by HUGE vicious rent-a-thugs at Pittsburgh’s G20, in unmarked ACUs…

      any number of us, in families WITH police & security members can recount more substantive recollections of CRAZY police interactions

      Living in a racist 1930s comic-book world has little bearing on ever more complex incidents like this?

      1. Paul Collis

        Don’t say my views are idiotic, it’s rude and arrogant. I’m allowed my views as you are yours.

        From what you have written, you are clearly biased. Just by setting out who you are SO clearly shows your bias.
        Maybe you tried to sue the police for your ‘beating’ and failed and now feel bitter.

        There is recourse for wrong doing, and compensation for those wronged. Sounds like you are from the wrong side of the tracks and put your self in bad situations

        1. anna

          “There is recourse for wrong doing, and compensation for those wronged. Sounds like you are from the wrong side of the tracks and put your self in bad situations”

          Every day on NC there are countless articles about corporate and government malfeasance, people in the wrong making out big and victims getting the opposite of compensation. Alongside those articles are countless articles on large macroeconomic forces and the negative effects they have on people’s lives. I’m guessing you must not really take them seriously if you think the above.

          You have differing opinions, clearly. Ones that I find sickening.

        2. ambrit

          Oh my, Mr. Collins, what a lot of ad hominems you have trundled out.
          I am so white I glow in the dark and I have been tear gassed and “rousted” before by the “Organs of State Security.”
          Yes, you are allowed your views, but they are not sacrosanct. No one’s views and opinions are. The only exceptions to that rule that I can think of are direct observations by practitioners of the “Hard” sciences, and even there debate is robust and vociferous.
          So, “..you are clearly biased..” as if that is always and everywhere a bad thing. Be more nuanced and consider that bias does not come in a “One Size Fits All” iteration. Being beaten and tear gassed by certain, observable, ‘actors’ does tend to colour one’s point of view in regards to those ‘actors.’
          I will take issue with your last two sentences. First, said ‘recourse’ in today’s America is severely restricted by the pernicious effects of money upon the institutions involved. Second, the phrase “…the wrong side of the tracks..” is a classic give away. That formulation hides a deep fear of “the masses.” Perhaps you are afraid that “useless eaters” and “deplorables” will come and take away your creature comforts?
          Anyway, stay safe, from threats both palpable and imaginary.

          1. Paul Collis

            Publish your name instead of hiding behind some pseudonym! Stand up for what you believe in!
            And if you feel the need to insult someone, have the common courtesy of spelling their name right, you ignoramus.

            Show respect to others. Don’t label/determine someone else’s view as ‘idiotic’ !

            You are clear uneducated, you can spell or write cohesively, you are abusive and opinionated. Your past run ins with the authorities suggest you are a wrongun.

            Justice for the average person is does not depend upon economics.
            Put yourself in a bad place, with bad attitude, you get what you deserve.

            Betraying on about your whiteness, suggested you are a wannabe person of colour.

            Carry on playing up to your rhetoric

            1. ChiGal

              this is a community and you are insulting one of our own. your careless typos and focus on the socioeconomic and educational status of others suggest a deep insecurity about your own social status.

              many of us have been in discourse with ambrit long enough to know he is indeed white and knows first-hand the negative impacts of being—I’ll say it—poor. But he is rich in compassion, insight, and his intellectual chops are extraordinary: well read in philosophy both moral and political, literature, art, and I don’t know what all else.

              Your ad hominems have no place here. This is not the discourse you seek.

              1. Paul Collis

                People don’t carry guns in the UK,
                Nor do the police!
                It remains a civilised respectful (in general) society !

                Armed people (heavily) and armed police =lots of dead people

                And Please, before I get a load more cynical grief, my 23 year old brother was murdered by deranged lunatic in rural England. No firearms involved.
                So spare me all the ‘I don’t know what I’m talking about’.
                I lived for 6 months in California, 1 year in Colorado. Have travelled and visited more than 20 other times to the US, through 15 different States, and in all those years have only had courtesy and help from the police.

                Shame on you and your quick to judge !

                  1. ambrit

                    Ditto. Extreme emotionality. This person might be struggling with reconciling the mentioned family loss with their learned thinking that they are living in a “civilized” country.
                    (Is this even a ‘live’ person? Does ChatGPT now come in a Hasbara version?) See? I can do ad hominems too!
                    Anyway, I reacted too quickly. The ‘Silent Treatment’ is what I have been told is the optimal method of dealing with such persons. I should know. I’ve had it done to me. Very effective too. If one is in any measure self reflective, the ‘Silent Treatment’ will induce one to drop into a state of internal analysis. That is assuming that one values the opinions and thoughts of others. If one should not so value others….

                1. agent ranger smith

                  Probably your own British/English accent made you seem very safe to them. Also , if you are rich enough to have travelled here over 22 times, your class privilege may have been easy to smell and would put police further at ease.

                  Suggesting someone is from the “wrong side of the tracks” is a further class privilege tell on your part.

            2. Yves Smith Post author

              You have lost your right to any sympathy with remarks like this. I suggest you read our site Policies.

              Police aren’t allowed under the law to shoot someone for fleeing, even though they get away with it all the time. They are only allowed to use deadly force if a suspect is a danger, which this guy was not.

              So your opening comment was what is called here Making Shit Up. You should not be surprised to encounter a buzz saw of ridicule.

              And you haves zero business acting as if you are the one who decides the rules here.

              I trust you will find your happiness elsewhere on the Internet.

        3. britzklieg

          Your views are idiotic, and even more so, repulsive…. though, indeed, it is your right to be a repulsive idiot.


          NWA said FTP and I extend the sentiment to you, sir

        4. Yves Smith Post author

          You deserve to be dismissed. You are denying an eye-witness account.

          You are one who is biased. You don’t want to listen to evidence that does not fit your priors.

    2. aleph_0

      “It’s a no win situation for the Police.
      Yes they regularly over step their authority, regularly use excessive force, but look at what they are up against.
      There is very little respect shown to their given authority, so it’s little wonder, that at times, things get out of hand.”

      I always wondered about this logic which claims that the police are strong, amazing people and worthy of all of this deference and respect, but they are so weak that if you hurt their pride and feelings by not showing them deference and respect, don’t be surprised if you die because you deserved it.

      1. Paul Collis

        Very cynical.

        All these ‘innocent’ victims !

        Come on, most people are law abbing citizens, who call the police for help when needed.

        Bad things happen to bad people

        1. hemeantwell

          “Bad things happen to bad people”

          You’re already hung out to dry upstream, but I applaud you for summing up your argument so thoughtlessly.

          1. Sibiryak

            I suspect Paul Collis is trolling:

            “…the Police… regularly over step their authority, regularly use excessive force, but look at what they are up against.”

            “If you resist, you are responsible for the outcome, even if you die.”

            “So go quietly and have your day in court.”

            “Sounds like you are from the wrong side of the tracks and put your self in bad situations….”

            “Bad things happen to bad people.”

            1. ambrit

              The thought had crossed my mind too. However, he escalated when facing push back. Is that Troll behaviour? I need to find a decent analysis of the phenomenon.

              1. agent ranger smith

                Since the classical definition of a troll used to be someone who simply sought attention in a web discussion and measured that attention by the number of replies he/she got, if this person discovered that his approach got more replies, why would he not escalate his approach in order to escalate his number of replies?

                It might be just that simple.

                  1. agent ranger smith

                    There may be an experimental way to test this. If the “Paul Collis” entity returns and everybody were to withhold comment, so that the “Paul Collis” entitiy were met with a solid wall of indifferent silence, how will the “Paul Collis” entity respond?

                    If it posts a rising crescendo of increasingly vitriolic and hysterical comments without eliciting so much as a single response, will it suddenly fall silent? Can the readership maintain that level of troll discipline?

                    1. Yves Smith Post author

                      Paul Collins apologized privately and I don’t expect him to continue on this post.

                      He’s in Australia and Australian police don’t behave like ours, so his response was provincial. Also Australia does not have a race problem like ours. Their Abos are very badly treated but a smaller proportion of the population, 3%, than blacks are of the US population. I assume discrimination is substantial, both housing and employment, since I literally saw only one Abo in the flesh my entire time there, and then only briefly, when out and about.

                    2. agent ranger smith

                      Thank you for informing us about this. I stand corrected and clarified.

                      ( I have never been to Australia. Based purely on reading things from this remote distance, I had thought the relationship between Australia and the Aboriginal Nations and people would be more analogous to the relationship between America and the Indian Nations and people. But I could be wrong all along about that.)

          1. TimH

            True, literally. But if you include people killed by British Police in the colonies in the last 100 years, it’s a lot more than that. Kenya, for one.

          2. Paul Collis

            People don’t carry guns in the UK,
            Nor do the police!
            It remains a civilised respectful (in general) society !

            Armed people (heavily) and armed police =lots of dead people

            And Please, before I get a load more cynical grief, my 23 year old brother was murdered by deranged lunatic in rural England. No firearms involved.
            So spare me all the ‘I don’t know what I’m talking about’.
            I lived for 6 months in California, 1 year in Colorado. Have travelled and visited more than 20 other times to the US, through 15 different States, and in all those years have only had courtesy and help from the police.

            1. ChiGal

              since bad things happen to bad people, forgive me, this is just rational discourse, it follows that your brother got what he deserved.

              surely you don’t believe this?

              1. Paul Collis

                My brother was in his home asleep, a bad person broke in a killed him.

                How can you compare that to a drugged up criminal resisting police !

                Shame on you.

                You ignorant rude person

                1. ChiGal

                  so sometimes bad things happen to good people?

                  note the lack of ad hominems in my attempts to engage you in rational discourse!

                  you too can do this!

            2. TMoney

              Sorry to hear of your brother.
              Violent death from random loonies is not good..
              Violent death from the authorities is worse they are supposed to “Protect and Serve” – that includes an erratic accident victim.

              The chap in the video didn’t have a gun or a knife – which is sort of the point. Even if he’s erratic and the police need to arrest him, they should be able to w/o killing him.

            3. lyman alpha blob

              Given the “logic” you’ve expressed in this thread, one would think the police in the US should be the primary advocates for gun control.

              Why is it that they’re not? It’s very curious…

                1. JBird4049

                  Even if the police do support gun control, it still does not explain why around 15% of their homicide victims are completely unarmed, while many others either have the weapon in drawer or pocket, not in their hand, and is often something like a stick or a rock.

                  I understand wanting to be safe, but I do not agree with the safety for me, but not for thee mindset. It could have been a guuuunnn is not a valid excuse.

        2. johnnyme

          “Bad things happen to bad people.”

          I’m pretty sure the family of Justine Damond would not agree with you.

          She called the Minneapolis police for help and they ended her life.

      2. BeliTsari

        I’d five extended family members in Pittsburgh’s GREAT police force, and a State trooper. Wrong side of the tracks doesn’t really matter there (folks in ALL the valleys had shorter, scarier, worse “asset-forfeiture,” incarceration, & indentured lives. So, no, we were urban ethnic hillbillies (130K of us lost our phony-baloney union jobs; so freebasing & smoking home-grown sinsemilla with cop friends was VERY typical. But he’s certainly right about bias? A girlfriend’s mom was in Bund Deutscher Mädel & my mom had a cousin who was Waffen SS, and yeah, guess I see a LOT of similarities (if you happen to consider ALL your friends & coworkers to be sentient homosapiens?) If you base your premise on inebriate grandiosity, sanctimonious racism & entitled eugenics, that the Nazis bragged about copying from us, I’m likely to disagree with a whole bunch of your assumptions?

  4. KLG

    Apropos of this, I saw a video a few years ago of a small group of unarmed Metropolitan Police officers in London subdue a man waving a scimitar on a London street. They used trash cans and shields and slowly but deliberately and without any other force disarmed the man, who was likely in the midst of some kind of mental storm.

    Found it! Mostly as I remembered, except the group of police was large at the end. The distraught man survived without violence being done to him and was taken to hospital.

    1. Victor Moses

      This is quite sad and enraging. How does a response to a collision according to the report above end up in a death? The police should be the very first people to know when someone is in distress or is on drugs. In that case – unless they are posing a danger to themselves or to others or have a weapon – there is no need to make them submit, arrest them or dominate them. The police seem to be obsessed with asserting their authority to the detriment of what’s good for the community and its individual members. And nothing seems to change that. You’d think the black cop with a knee on the victim’s back who references George Floyd would realize that perhaps we ought to be rethinking this agressive response to a non-violent, distressed person. At the same time – real criminals commit mass robberies of stores in downtown San Francisco making off with hundreds of thousands of dollars and police couldn’t be bothered about it.

  5. Tommy S

    I’ve witnessed this brutality in San Francisco Mission District since 1980’s, though never to the death level. Only seen bodies afterwards……..Once , a few years ago, a white sheet outside my flat on Folsom and 24th. Guy shot three times in his back. . Obviously he has ‘issues’ but he is running away dammit. He is NO danger to anyone. And then the cop, with three or four pinning him down. shoves that taser over and over in his back. Sadistic. A punch or slug, I can imagine getting all military running hyped up style…but just holding that thing into his back. And again, and again…..

  6. JohnA

    I watched the video on twitter. The guy was clearly totally scared, surrounded by police shouting commands at him. In such a situation it is hard to act rationally. The polic e guy who kept tasering him had literally no understanding of how someone feels in such a panic situation. It was not a single blast of the taser, it was time and time again. Until police are accountable for their actions, this will be repeated ad infinitum.

    1. Paul Collis

      He was clearly off his head on drugs, acting totally irrationally. He ran !
      He is completely responsible for the outcome !

      Let’s see what comes out in the court case.

      Don’t resist, you get put in the back of a cruiser. Resist, you get taser, keep in resisting you get tasered again.
      Why should the police have to be assaulted by criminals.

      1. Milton

        I’m not understanding. Are you saying the police were zonked, high on Adderall and had a difficult time calming themselves down thereby finding it difficult to properly ascertain the situation and instead escalated the tension between the person who had made the call and those with the weapons to actually kill someone? If that is what you’re saying, I agree wholeheartedly.

    2. Alex

      What makes you think he was “totally scared” and for this reason behaved like he did? If it’s just your impression from the video it has the same weight as others’ impressions (and people think he must have been high). Let’s wait for the autopsy at least

      1. JohnA

        He was screaming they are trying to George Floyd me. Ie they were trying to kill him. I think that would make someone totally scared. It certainly would me.

    3. ChrisPacific

      Definite similarities to the killing of Christian Glass in Colorado, which was extensively reported in New Zealand as he was a citizen. See for example:


      Race was not a factor in this case but some of the other details are quite similar. Glass actually called them for help and was never suspected of any crime, but began ‘acting erratically’ when they arrived, and it escalated from there. No crime had been committed and nobody except Glass himself was ever endangered, and they could have just turned around and left.

  7. Stephen

    Anybody not from the U.S., or more specifically cities like LA simply cannot believe that this happens. A road traffic accident results in police killing someone because he does not obey aggressive commands? And gets scared?

    Reminds me of how US Immigration staff behave. They are also highly aggressive. I have found Russian and Saudi border agents (for example) to be far more polite. Also reminds me of how an armed (I underline armed) Police Officer had to be present at Cornell when I was there whenever alcohol was served at a student function. This happens nowhere else that I am aware of anywhere in the world. No overseas student had any understanding of what that was about.

    Seems to be something about officialdom, submission and violence in the US. People who rationalize this type of thing as justified need to travel more, I think. Other countries have vices and the U.S. has lots of strengths but the attitude of its officialdom and law enforcement plus public acquiescence is amongst the worst in the world. Even compared with so called authoritarian regimes.

    1. Stephen

      As a further comment. I remember being told by someone that if you are stopped for a motor traffic issue in LA then the recommendation is to put both your hands on the mirror in the car. So the officer can see that you are not carrying a concealed weapon. His comment was that otherwise you are liable to get shot.

      Given that some people do carry and use concealed weapons then one extra point is that society probably also simply gets the police force it deserves.

      1. johnnyme

        And if you are carrying a concealed weapon that you have a license for like Philando Castile was and inform the police officer who stops your car, you are also liable to get shot.

        1. Stephen

          The silver lining is that so many Americans realise that this is not perfect, are prepared to admit it and see that it needs to be fixed. That gives grounds for optimism. I am not American, of course.

    2. Victor Moses

      Stephen – your original post is excellent and completely matches with my experiences traveling in the US and abroad. I can’t but help think that they wittingly or unwittingly recruit high school bullies and people who get off on power.

  8. Paul Collis

    Clearly joined the wrong group here.

    What a load of cynical biased bad outlooks.

    Seen it so many times. Blind support for the underdog, till it happens to you.
    Then you’re the first to call the police for help and praise them for saving from lunatics.

    I will keep my views to myself and not comment further for fear of upsetting those that can’t deal with reality.

    1. Pat

      Mr. Collis, you are free to comment. You are free to hold the opinions you have. What you are also free to do is to have opinions based on limited experience or even biased conclusions.

      Are we cynical, not entirely but a great many of us are. Are our outlooks bad, well that is something time will tell. But frankly the same could be said for you. You have looked at a situation where you do not begin to understand the underlying emotional context (people being killed while poor or black or abused while female by law enforcement is not common where you come from, here it happens far too often). You immediately reject the idea that the victim here was reacting in terror, completely rejecting his entire history to go to hopped up on drugs. You believe that people here aren’t recognizing reality. Yet many here have had real life experience both with police brutality and with situations that you think they have never encountered. Their experiences color their take, just as your experience or even possibly your lack of experience colors how you view this.

      You are of course free to leave. If you stay you might find that this is a vibrant community with a vast array of experience. You might even be able to learn a bit from it. But what it isn’t is a push over, you really have to make a better case to have them go, you could be right.

      1. Paul Collis

        I appreciate your comments and take them on board.
        I’m a much travelled person, who fully appreciates the machinations of live, urban and rural.
        If the outcome of the trial shows this unfortunate man who died, is a victim of police brutality, I will be as equally vocal in his defence.

        My comments were based upon reading as much as I could, there is a lot from varied sources, and watching the three video recordings posted on line.

        Paranoid behaviour is more prevalent in those that have either a mental disposition (this man was an employed teacher), or drug dependents.

        The police in the US pay a heavy price for doing their duty, on average 150 killed per year in line of duty pre Covid, and 450-600 during Covid years.
        That is people killed violently or in the line of duty doing their job.

        I am not naive, there is abuse of power in all domains. Sure there is police brutality, and there is terrible cases of proven unjustified violence and death. It’s an imperfect world.

        My point was, policing is a toxic environment these days. How many of us would go out alone at night on patrol in a gun riddled, drug hazed world. I’m in no way justifying any unjust actions by any law enforcement, but, the law has to be enforced and there are consequences of process.
        Yes I wish the world was a better fairer place, but it is what it is.

        All in this portal seem to be aware of the state of play, so why resist if you are asked to comply.

        Do we really believe, that if this poor man complied with the authority he encounter, would be dead from being handcuffed and taken to custody. No I don’t (maybe in other cases there has been gross injustice) from what I have seen and read, if he had not run, not resisted, he would be alive today.

        1. ChiGal

          agreed, had he not resisted he would be alive today.

          having watched the second video posted by B flat above, my take is he was in a state of active psychosis and the cops were clearly aware of this and for the most part attempted to subdue him without escalating him further, but when with the superhuman strength of someone fighting for his life (because to him it was not a traffic stop, he was fixated on the idea that they were arresting him for the murder of the rapper Cee Lo) he despite being on the ground was able to prevent them from getting the cuffs around his wrists—then ultimately the tasing may have been excessive, though it does not appear to me that he was actually tased again once they got the cuffs on. There was no kicking or punching or choking, one of them even told another to watch his elbow as it slipped from the shoulder toward the neck as the guy writhed around.

          just plain sad and more a reflection of the state of the society we are all attempting to function in than the personal attributes of the particular individuals involved, Keenan and cops alike.

          fixing blame on any of these individuals is facile scapegoating I would say.

          So yes to your arguing against knee-jerk blaming of the cops but no to your knee-jerk blaming of Keenan. Being actively psychotic (whether due to substance use or mental illness or both), he was incapable of making the decision we might all wish he had, not to run, not to resist.

          I appreciate your civil response to Pat. Also, I am sorry for your loss. Both addiction and mental illness are scourges upon those afflicted as well as those around them.

          1. britzklieg

            oh please… running and resisting is the reason he is dead? No, he is dead because the cops killed him.

    2. ambrit

      Mr. Collis, (I got it right this time,) I am older and live in the North American Deep South. Personal firearms, for whatever reason, are a tradition here. I take part in that tradition. As a part of that tradition, I learned the safe and proper ways of handling firearms. The subtext here is that I and my neighbours expect to have to deal with the violent crazies ourselves, and then call the police. Why? Because the police here are limited in their abilities and also somewhat corrupt. I have personally seen police “hanging out” with drugs ‘entrepreneurs.’
      Never forget that “The Wild West” is really a state of mind, not just an American historical period.
      Stay safe.

      1. Stephen

        A fascinating thing is that the American right to carry firearms descends from English Common Law, which classically allowed precisely that and Britain had too the very militia that the Constitutional amendment talks about.

        The very first British police officers in the late eighteenth century (the Bow Street Runners) were also routinely armed. Even Customs officers were and fought pitched battles with smugglers.

        Somehow across the mainland UK and most of the rest of Europe the routine carrying of firearms then reduced during the nineteenth century and into the twentieth. It would be very interesting to understand the reasons for why the US is relatively exceptional in this respect. After all, the Frontier was officially closed in 1890. Other countries such as South Africa are also violent and have corrupt police forces but as far as I can tell (and I might be wrong even though I have lived there) the citizenry is not armed en masse in the way that the US is.

        By the way, am not pushing back on why you see the need to have firearms. I fully understand and have lived in the US too so have experienced the reasons and the rationale.

        1. ambrit

          Point taken. The problem with the American experience with private firearms today seems to be the fetishization of not just the firearms themselves, but the idea that domestic conflicts should be resolved through violence.
          Consider all of the Superhero films and videos common in today’s “entertainment” sphere. The old time Cowboy heroes were closer to the ‘ground state’ of Terran human experience. The modern Superheros are removed from the commonality. Said Superheros resolve conflicts through the application of superior force, both physical and intellectual. They begin to assume the mantles of gods.
          While the viewers of these stories may experience some degree of catharsis through identifying with these heroes and their strengths, the ‘groundlings’ never actually learn anything helpful to their handling of problems in the real world. I’ll go a step further and suggest that a continual immersion in the Superhero milieu helps in the viewer’s disconnection from ‘reality.’ The upshot of the above being, in my theory, that formerly manageable domestic “incidents” escalate to violence quickly, bypassing formerly socially common conflict resolution mechanisms.
          That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
          Stay safe and sane all.

  9. KLG

    A version of this comment seems to be lost in the ether. If this is a duplicate, I apologize.

    Apropos of this, several years ago I saw a video of unarmed London Metropolitan Police confront a man waving a scimitar in the street. They used trashcans and shields to subdue him without resorting to violence and the man, who was probably in the midst of a mental storm of some kind, was taken to hospital.

    I found the video, which is mostly what I recall. The final group of unarmed police is bigger than I remembered, though. Still, not a firearm in sight.

  10. ChiGal

    and in the end, for all the sound and fury expressed in this thread, what is saddest of all is that likely none of us believes, as we briefly dared to hope after George Floyd’s murder, that anything will change.

    it is a lesser world we live in than we once did, or thought we did.

    I no longer have a dog in any of these fights—however much we rehash January 6, one thing is sure, no one in DC will be speaking for me and if they do they will be castrated in plain sight, like Bernie Sanders, or co-opted like AOC.

    1. ambrit

      We suffer the same fate here in the North American Deep South. I remember seeing, up close, how the Democrat Party apparatchiks here made a deal with the Republican Party nomenklatura for Democrat Party faithful to cross party lines in the primary for a Federal Senator seat and defeat a strong Tea Party challenger to the Republican Old Guard candidate. Like him or not, the challenger was against the status quo. Both sides of what I now view as the Uniparty closed ranks to protect their joint interests. As usual, the Public was well and truly d—ed.
      I remember the demonstrations at the 72 Conventions. Alas, it does indeed look as if those days are gone.
      My hope now is that the Incredible Shrinking Middle Class finally wakes up and opposes the fell designs of the oligarchs. I can hope.
      Stay safe.

      1. agent ranger smith

        Hunter S. Thompson wrote about something like that happening to him in Aspen, Colorado when he ran for Sheriff on the Freak Power ticket. When it looked like he would win more votes than either the Democratic or the Republican candidate, the two parties combined forces against him and the Party with the slightly lower number of votes relative to the other Party withdrew its candidate from the Sheriff election. The supporters of the withdrawn candidate of course all voted for the other mainstream Party candidate.

        I don’t remember which Party dropped its candidate out, but it really doesn’t matter to the mechanics and inner meaning of the story.

    1. ambrit

      I was wondering the same. The responses seemed a bit “over the top” at first and then ‘settled down’ quite a bit.

  11. Darthbobber

    Everyplace I see the bodycam footage it is referred to as “edited” footage. What’s being left on the digital cutting room floor, I wonder?

    1. ambrit

      Good point. Any “scientist” worth their salt will always demand the original, complete data. Anything less is, by definition, corrupted and worth ‘less’ in the final analysis.
      Also, I seem to remember that it was precisely for situations like this that the police were mandated to wear and use body cameras.
      As to “editing;’ I am old enough to remember the huge public relations disaster that resulted from Richard Nixon’s people ‘editing’ the White House Tapes.
      See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nixon_White_House_tapes#:~:text=November%201%2C%201973.-,18%C2%BD%2Dminute%20gap,she%20answered%20a%20phone%20call.

  12. Suppression

    Reading this discussion, one realizes what kind of “shithole country” Trump 2018, the USA is. Why do you even have to have this discussion at all?
    But the EU is aping their masters too. The Swedish police has started to kill people with Down’s syndrome. https://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/a/7lAmm4/eric-20-med-downs-syndrom-skots-till-dods-av-polis

    Add the weaponized robodogs in the Netherlands and the exprience of the Yellow West etc and you see where all is going.

    Isn’t it funny how the police manage to kill ordinary people but none of the organized crime bosses or drug traffickers or looters of the public coffers that pose a systemic threat to society?

    1. ambrit

      You just had to throw in the “Trump Evil” meme without context.
      The social ‘problems’ you mentioned began long before the “Orange Satan” came along, and continue today after “Creepy” Joe Biden assumed ‘control’ of the Ship of State.
      This has all been convincingly described as a bog standard history arc common to Empires. Choose an Empire, any Empire; their development and disintegration will show the lineaments of a common pattern.
      Be safe.

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