Open letter about police violence – January 26, 2023

An open letter

An open letter from the Board of the Pacific Palisades Democratic Club to Mayor Karen Bass, City Councilmember Traci Park, Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsay Horvath, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna, and Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore: 

In our council district on January 3, 2023, a group of LAPD officers immobilized and pinned a 31-year-old father and high school English teacher named Keenan Anderson after a hit-and-run incident. Claiming Anderson resisted efforts to detain him, officers administered six 50,000-volt Taser shocks. Anderson was evacuated from the scene unconscious and died in custody at a local hospital.

LAPD policy states that officers “may use the Taser as a reasonable force option to control a suspect when the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the officer or others.” By all available evidence Anderson’s actions do not appear to meet that standard.

“The gaps between pulses were so brief that [Anderson] could get out only a
few words — including ‘Help me, please’ — as he repeatedly cried out in agony.”
Los Angeles Times

We need to name this for what it appears to be: an unwarranted and excessive use of force by LAPD officers, which led to an unnecessary tragedy.
The police work for all of us. We need officers who will demonstrate nonviolence and good neighborliness. When the community lacks confidence in police officers’ calm professionalism, it is an emergency of the most urgent sort.

We request that Mayor Bass, the City Council, the Board of Supervisors, the County Sheriff’s Department, and the Los Angeles Police Department immediately take all steps needed to ensure that the police employ patience and de-escalation, exemplifying nonviolence to our whole city. Specifically, we request that law enforcement adhere to proper procedures when employing potentially lethal or debilitating force. We further ask that each of you participate in public meetings before community councils or other local organizations over the next three months to report on your progress and field questions.

Pacific Palisades Democratic Club Board

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