On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Police Department announced that they have opened investigations into the death of three men following incidents with the LAPD last week and released footage from bodycams from responding officers in all three incidents.
LAPD Chief Michael Moore announced that the videos from the incidents are now publicly available. You can access the videos and the police account of each incident online at the LAPD Critical Incident Video Dashboard. The website also includes information on how the Force Investigation Division and Office of the Inspector General respond to deadly use-of-force incidents.
Takar Smith died last Monday during police response to a restraining order violation and stalking call, where police were warned that he may be suffering from a mental health crisis. Smith was tased a number of times during the attempted arrest. Two officers fired seven shots at him after Smith apparently grabbed and raised a knife above his head. He died on the scene.
Oscar Sanchez died last Tuesday after police responded to multiple 911 calls that he was agitating and assaulting people with a “makeshift spear” at an abandoned home and throwing objects at passing cars. Two officers fixed six shots at Sanchez after confronting him in the home, killing him.
In the final case, last Tuesday, Keenan Anderson was killed after flagging down a motorcycle officer to help him following a car crash in Venice. Part of a confusing exchange, Anderson told the officer he needed help because he believed someone was trying to kill him. Meanwhile, others on the street told the officer that Anderson had attempted a carjacking.
Anderson is the cousin of Patrisse Cullors, a well known advocate and author who coined the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag back in 2013. Cullors posted about Anderson’s death on instragram on Monday.
“He was killed by LAPD in Venice on January 3rd, 2023. My cousin was an educator and worked with high school aged children. He was an English teacher,” Cullors said. “LAPD has killed three people this year. One of them is my family member. Keenan deserves to be alive right now, his child deserves to be raised by his father.”
Ultimately, a number of officers held Anderson down and, after tasing him, restrained him by binding his legs. Anderson died hours later in the hospital due to cardiac arrest.
LAPD Chief Michael Moore said during a press conference that he decided to expedite the release of the body-worn video due to “substantial public interest” in the cluster of deaths and requests from the men’s families. Release of this kind of video usually takes up to 45 days.
LA Mayor Karen Lee released a statement Wednesday citing her “grave concerns” about the circumstances of the three deaths.
“Full investigations are underway, and I pledge that the City’s investigations into these deaths will be transparent and will reflect the values of Los Angeles,” Lee said. “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.”