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Vigil for man who died after being tased by LAPD called a ‘spiritual gathering’

Despite Saturday’s downpour, Angelinos gathered on the corner of Lincoln and Venice boulevards in Venice to honor Keenan Anderson, who went into cardiac arrest and died Jan. 3 after Los Angeles police tased and shackled him in the same location.

Anderson, the father of a 6-year-old, had been a teacher for more than eight years, the past six months at Digital Pioneers Academy, a charter school in Washington, D.C.

People hold up signs asking for the release of the LAPD officers’ names who were involved and for them to be jailed during a vigil for Keenan Anderson, the cousin of Black Lives Matters co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who went into cardiac arrest and died Jan. 3 after Los Angeles police tased him following a traffic crash at the intersection of Venice and Lincoln boulevards in Los Angeles on Saturday, January 14, 2023. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

Black Lives Matters co-founder Patrisse Cullors consoles a man during a vigil for Keenan Anderson, the cousin of Cullors, who went into cardiac arrest and died Jan. 3 after Los Angeles police tased him following a traffic crash at the intersection of Venice and Lincoln boulevards in Los Angeles on Saturday, January 14, 2023. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

Flowers during a vigil for Keenan Anderson, the cousin of Black Lives Matters co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who went into cardiac arrest and died Jan. 3 after Los Angeles police tased him following a traffic crash at the intersection of Venice and Lincoln boulevards in Los Angeles on Saturday, January 14, 2023. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

Dozens of people come out in the rain during a vigil for Keenan Anderson, the cousin of Black Lives Matters co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who went into cardiac arrest and died Jan. 3 after Los Angeles police tased him following a traffic crash at the intersection of Venice and Lincoln boulevards in Los Angeles on Saturday, January 14, 2023. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

A man stands in the rain with an umbrella with a note on his jacket that reads Justice is Essential during a vigil for Keenan Anderson, the cousin of Black Lives Matters co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who went into cardiac arrest and died Jan. 3 after Los Angeles police tased him following a traffic crash at the intersection of Venice and Lincoln boulevards in Los Angeles on Saturday, January 14, 2023. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

A man is consoled during a vigil for Keenan Anderson, the cousin of Black Lives Matters co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who went into cardiac arrest and died Jan. 3 after Los Angeles police tased him following a traffic crash at the intersection of Venice and Lincoln boulevards in Los Angeles on Saturday, January 14, 2023. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

Friends and family arrive during a vigil for Keenan Anderson, the cousin of Black Lives Matters co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who went into cardiac arrest and died Jan. 3 after Los Angeles police tased him following a traffic crash at the intersection of Venice and Lincoln boulevards in Los Angeles on Saturday, January 14, 2023. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

Activist Melina Abdullah speaks during a vigil for Keenan Anderson, the cousin of Black Lives Matters co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who went into cardiac arrest and died Jan. 3 after Los Angeles police tased him following a traffic crash at the intersection of Venice and Lincoln boulevards in Los Angeles on Saturday, January 14, 2023. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

A man is consoled during a vigil for Keenan Anderson, the cousin of Black Lives Matters co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who went into cardiac arrest and died Jan. 3 after Los Angeles police tased him following a traffic crash at the intersection of Venice and Lincoln boulevards in Los Angeles on Saturday, January 14, 2023. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

A man holds flowers during a vigil for Keenan Anderson, the cousin of Black Lives Matters co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who went into cardiac arrest and died Jan. 3 after Los Angeles police tased him following a traffic crash at the intersection of Venice and Lincoln boulevards in Los Angeles on Saturday, January 14, 2023. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

A moment of prayer during a vigil for Keenan Anderson, the cousin of Black Lives Matters co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who went into cardiac arrest and died Jan. 3 after Los Angeles police tased him following a traffic crash at the intersection of Venice and Lincoln boulevards in Los Angeles on Saturday, January 14, 2023. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

A man holds up a sign asking for the release of the LAPD officers’ names who were involved in the tasing of Keenan Anderson during a vigil for Keenan Anderson, the cousin of Black Lives Matters co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who went into cardiac arrest and died Jan. 3 after Los Angeles police tased him following a traffic crash at the intersection of Venice and Lincoln boulevards in Los Angeles on Saturday, January 14, 2023. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

A candlelight vigil for Keenan Anderson, the cousin of Black Lives Matters co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who went into cardiac arrest and died Jan. 3 after Los Angeles police tased him following a traffic crash at the intersection of Venice and Lincoln boulevards in Los Angeles on Saturday, January 14, 2023. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

People listen to speakers during a candlelight vigil for Keenan Anderson, the cousin of Black Lives Matters co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who went into cardiac arrest and died Jan. 3 after Los Angeles police tased him following a traffic crash at the intersection of Venice and Lincoln boulevards in Los Angeles on Saturday, January 14, 2023. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

A sign on a makeshift memorial with a quote by Keenan Anderson “ They’re Trying to George Floyd Me” during a vigil for Anderson, the cousin of Black Lives Matters co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who went into cardiac arrest and died Jan. 3 after Los Angeles police tased him following a traffic crash at the intersection of Venice and Lincoln boulevards in Los Angeles on Saturday, January 14, 2023. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

A man holds a candle in the rain during a vigil for Keenan Anderson, the cousin of Black Lives Matters co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who went into cardiac arrest and died Jan. 3 after Los Angeles police tased him following a traffic crash at the intersection of Venice and Lincoln boulevards in Los Angeles on Saturday, January 14, 2023. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

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“This is not a protest. This is not a press conference. This is our spiritual gathering … we are here to give love and our spiritual energy to the family,” said scholar activist Melina Abdullah of Black Lives Matter, Los Angeles to the gathered crowd estimated at a few hundred people.

Los Angeles spiritual leaders, activists and the families of others involved in police use of force incidents joined Anderson’s family in their mourning and uplifted the demand for justice.

Albert Corado, brother of Melyda “Mely” Corado, who was shot and killed by LAPD in 2018, took the mic to call for solidarity.

“I’m here today to stand with the family of Keenan Anderson and tell them that I will forever be in solidarity with them and that my family and the people in this audience will follow them every step of the way. Whatever they decide to do to try to get justice. Whether that’s courts, whether that’s taking it to the streets we will be there with them every step of the way. Because this needs to stop right f—— now,” he said.

Patrisse Cullors, author, BLM co-founder and cousin of Anderson addressed the crowd, “I stand in front of you on Venice and Lincoln, where my cousin begged for his life. Where he pleaded for his life. No human being deserves to die like that. No human being deserves to fear for their life in their last hours of their life … if you believe in Black lives matter, then fight for my cousin.”

The death of the 31-year-old English teacher is one of three use-of-force incidents involving LAPD officers that left the trio of suspects dead in the first three days of the new year and sparked widespread condemnation.

Police Chief Michel Moore said the investigation into Anderson’s death was ongoing, but noted he was tased six times during the struggle with officers, a number that raised concerns.

The struggle happened after a man police said appeared intoxicated was suspected of causing a traffic collision at 3:40 p.m. on Jan. 3. A West Traffic Division officer was flagged down and witnesses said a man who caused the crash was running in the middle of the street and exhibiting erratic behavior before police caught up with him, police said. Anderson later died in custody of cardiac arrest, police said.

Venice resident and vigil attendee Dylan Keese-Forster said, “I think its important to show up in these moments. It is horrific that this is still happening. I’m heartbroken that we have to be here, but this has to change and if people don’t show up, it wont change.”

BLM Los Angeles and the Anderson family have five demands for justice. They are that Moore resign, the release of unedited police video of Anderson’s confrontation with officers, police be removed from traffic and other places they don’t belong like mental health, schools, parks and housing; officials restrict the use of Tasers as “less lethal” does not mean non-lethal, and to end qualified immunity for police force.

The last person to see Anderson alive was his cousin who identified himself only as Earnest and said, “He got his master’s degree in teaching out here in California. He went to Washington (DC) and was doing his thing. How you come out here for three days, and this is the end result — I don’t understand it.”

To assist the Anderson family with the burial of their loved one, a GoFundMe has been created.

To close the vigil, BLM LA led the crowd through a chant, “It is our duty to win. It is our duty to fight for freedom. We must love and protect one another. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

City News Service contributed to this story.

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