SACRAMENTO, Calif. —  Keenan Anderson’s family traveled to the California State Capitol to seek justice and honor the memory of the beloved 31-year-old father and teacher.

What You Need To Know

  • Keenan Anderson’s family was invited to the state capitol by Assemblymember Isaac Bryan

  • Keenan was tased multiple times by LAPD officers and died at a hospital hours later

  • His brother, Christopher, says the 31-year-old English teacher preached the importance of education

  • Laws like SB 2 are designed to protect Black and brown people from law enforcement in California

His family was invited to Sacramento by Assemblymember Isaac Bryan, who adjourned the floor session in Anderson’s memory.

Christopher Anderson, Keenan’s younger brother, says Keenan was his biggest inspiration to go back to school to get his degree.

“It just hurts because he told me you don’t want to be a bum. You always want your paperwork… and he preached higher education all the time,” Anderson said.

Anderson, a high school English teacher, leaves behind a fiancé, a 6-year-old son, his students, and a large extended family. His cousin, Patrisse Cullors, is the co-founder of Black Lives Matter — a movement that started 10 years ago in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death.

Cullors was in attendance at the Assembly chamber for the adjournment in memory for her cousin.

“Today was very special and my prayer is that we take this movement and move policy and legislation that we will help create a world in which what happened to my cousin doesn’t happen to anyone else ever again,” Cullors said.

Keenan was tased multiple times by LAPD officers and died hours later at a hospital.

Bryan spoke about Keenan’s death being an example of why so many people in the Black community fear for their lives during police encounter.

“When you are born as a black child in this country and in California, you are told this is a dangerous place and you may lose your life to the hands of law enforcement simply for having an encounter with them,” Bryan said.

LAPD Chief Michael Moore says Keenan was a felony hit-and-run suspect who resisted when officers tried to detain him.

“The cops trying to make him look like he’s a druggie. He was this and that, nah — he was a real tender, outgoing and well-spoken person. It just hurts because I’ll never get to talk to him again,” Anderson said.

Assemblymember Tina McKinnor says it is time for change, pointing out how three people have died this year from encounters with police in Los Angeles.

“You know it’s just January guys, it’s January,” she said. “We’ve already had three unarmed black men and brown men get killed by police officers,” McKinnor notes. “This has to stop. You know, we need our cops to look at us as human beings and not be so afraid that you’re killing us.”

McKinnor, who has two sons in their 30s, says work is being done in California to protect Black and brown men from law enforcement.

She highlights SB 2, which establishes a board that decertifies police officers who are found guilty of a crime. Once they are decertified, the former police officers could no longer work in law enforcement in the state.

“We have to weed out and get rid of these bad cops, because I’m not against police officers. We want good police officers on the ground, but we have to weed out the bad ones,” McKinnor said.

Even though laws like SB 2 are meant to protect Black men in the future, Keenan’s family is still left looking for answers.

“I want to know why the officers used force when he was crying for help,” Anderson said.

The LA County Coroner has yet to determine the cause of Keenan’s death.

Meanwhile, Assemblymember Bryan’s office is looking at the state’s policies surrounding use of force and exploring different legislative solutions to ensure the killing of unarmed black and brown people does not continue to happen in California.

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