THE VIEW FROM HERE - The word “contrast,” as opposed to “compare,” is the proper word when discussing the Los Angeles PD Keenan Anderson videotape vis a vis the Memphis PD video of Tyre Nichols. There are a few similarities between Keenan and Tyre. Both were neatly dressed, clean-cut, well-groomed and young, i.e about 30 years old. Neither was aggressive, and both died after an encounter with their respective police departments. The behavior of the two police departments had no similarities.
The Tapes Which Have Been Released:
A LAPD Officer provides and introduction and a brief description of the tapes.
Tyre Nichols Tapes: Tyre Nichols’ tapes, and
The MPD tapes are Video 2 thru Video 4. Video 1, which shows the MPD Officer yanking Tyre from his car. Video 2 is the overhead camera where the lethal beating occurred. I find no video of Tyre’s driving recklessly.
The LAPD’s Encounter with Keenan
When the LAPD motorcycle officer arrives at the scene of a traffic accident 4:20, he sees a young Black man in the street wearing a light blue-gray pullover who says, “Please help me sir,” pointing to where an accident had occurred. (The man is Keenan Anderson) When the officer gets over there 4:40, people point to Keenan, saying “he’s the driver.” The officer goes back to Keenan who’s in the intersection and the officer directs Keenan, “get off to the side here.” Keenan complies. Keenan says someone one “trying to kill me” and puts his hands behind his lower back as he walked onto the sidewalk 4:53. Keenan keeps saying, “I didn’t mean to” and the officer says, “Get up against the wall.” Neither is confrontational. Officer calls in to dispatch, saying he has a possible DUI and asks for additional units 4:52. Keenan is kneeling on the sidewalk. Keenan repeats that someone is trying to kill him, but he complies with the officer’s direction to sit down and cross his legs. Keenan is not making sense. He is talking about having a “stunt” today. Neither is confrontational. This tape then has a seven minute gap.
After some more incoherent statements, Keenan starts going to the road and the officer says, “I don’t want you in the road” 6:49. Keenan starts running in traffic and the officer starts after him on his cycle 7:08. Listen to how the officer calls after Keenan. The officer catches up to Keenan who is in a left-turn lane and the officer commands, “Get down now.” Keenan gets down 7:17. While Keenan is on the ground, the officer tells him several times to turn over on his stomach. Keenan seems to be semi-complying until he sees other officers approaching; then Keenan starts to stand up 7:30.
At this point it looks like four officers grab Keenan and turn him face down. One officer had a hand pressing down on Keenan’s low back and another officer has one knee on Keenan’s low back buttock area. Keenan’s keeps saying, “Please, Please, Please.” 7:46 The officer says, “Keenan relax, Keenan relax.” The officer does not sound hostile 7:49. Keenan is resisting and one cop says, “Stop or I’ll tase you.” 7:59 Several times the officer gives the taser warning.
At 7:59, the video switches to another officer’s Body Cam. One officer has his taser out and repeatedly tells Keenan, “turn over or I am going to tase you.” Another officer by Keenan’s head has his elbow on Keenan’s shoulder at his neck extended towards Keenan’s waist 9:45. Keenan says, “They’re trying to George Floyd me. They trying to George Floyd me.” After several warnings that I am going to tase you and Keenan’s continues to struggle, the officer warns the other officers, “I am going to tase him” 10:11 He tases Keenan until 10:42. One officer has his knee in the middle of Keenan’s back. The cop tases him again 10:52. The tasing lasts until 10:57. The video switches to another Body Cam, and at 11:55, one officer says to turn Keenan on his side as he is still handcuffed in a prone position. Since they have a new Body Cam, one cannot tell from the video’s time stamp how much time has elapsed. By 16:03 Keenan is sitting up. Per LAPD, LAFD arrived in one minute and rendered aid to Kennan, and in five minutes, LAFD took him to the hospital. Four and half hours later at the hospital, Keenan died of cardiac arrest.
In contrast, MPD Brutal Treatment of Tyre Nichols
Video 1 shows that as soon as Tyre had stopped, the officer behind Tyre’s car got out of his car 1:03, another officer opens Tyre’s driver’s door with his left hand 1:08 and yells, “get out of the fucking car,” as he reaches into Tyre’s car and yanks Tyre out onto the pavement. Video is confusing as it is close up and people are moving. By 1:41 Tyre is tased. One hears Tyre’s saying, “Alright, alright, I’m on the ground,” and Tyre appears to be on the pavement. Around 2:05 there is a lot of tasing sounds, although Tyre is on the ground and does not appear to be resisting. It appears that when they let go of Tyre in order to tase him again, Tyre gets up and runs away 2:08. (Allegedly, if the officers have their hands on him, the electric shock can pass to them. Thus, they let go.)
Video 2 shows that when they caught up to Tyre at an intersection, they tackled him and then socked him in the face. When he was down, they kicked him. Then, they lifted him up and held him while other officers socked him and one struck him in the head with club. Although Tyre was severely wounded, they offered no aid but propped him upon the side of car. About 20 minutes later the ambulance arrived and Tyre was eventually taken to the hospital. A couple days later, he dies. WKNO 91.1 video.
No law enforcement official in the entire country has said that MPD acted properly. That is one reason the investigation could be finished so quickly.
Angelenos Need To Contrast the LAPD’s Treatment of Keenan Anderson with MPD’s Depraved Beating of Tyre Nichols
The LAPD officer had been not confrontational, but when Keenan started running in traffic in a confused state, Keenan was a danger to himself and the officer had a duty to protect Keenan. That is exactly what he did. In addition, bystanders had told the officer that Keenan had caused the accident. Thus, the officer could not allow Keenan to flee an accident scene. Keenan was given warnings, many warnings that they would tase him.
“They’re Trying to George Floyd Me”
Keenan’s yelling this shows his state of mind. It will take an investigation of Keenan’s background with interviews of his friends and family to ascertain why Keenan would think that the officers were trying to kill him. By the time Keenan started yelling, “They’re trying to George Floyd me,” he had had about ten minutes of decent interaction in a non-confrontational manner with the motorcycle officer. It will take a psychological expert to provide an opinion on the extent to which Keenan would sincerely believe that they were trying to George Floyd him. In light of what we have seen of the Memphis Scorpion unit killing Tyre Nichols, Keenan’s general fear seems reasonable, but not reasonable in light of his particular case.
At this juncture, more experts will be required. Since Keenan had cocaine and marijuana in his system, could that combination so seriously distort his perception that he thought they were trying to kill him? Will we find out that one legacy of Chauvin’s murder of George Floyd is that placing people on the ground in order to restrain them has become counter-productive, especially if they’re high? Does that position now stimulate aggressive resistance? (FBI on use of prone position)
No one should conflate the LAPD’s handling of Keenan Anderson with the barbaric way Memphis’ Scorpion unit murdered Tyre Nichols.
Richard Lee Abrams has been an attorney, a Realtor and community relations consultant as well as a CityWatch contributor. You may email him at [email protected]. The opinions expressed by Mr. Abrams are not necessarily those of CityWatchLA.com.)