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Criminal Justice

Activists And Council Members Demand Police Reform In Wake Of LAPD Killings

A Black woman wearing a pink long coat speaks into several microphones outside LA city hall. A banner behind her reads "Black Lives Matter." City council members and several activists stand behind her.
BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors (front) was joined by LA City Council members, both past and present, in calling for unarmed responses to mental health calls.
(Robert Garrova
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Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors was joined by council members Eunisses Hernandez, Hugo Soto Martinez and Marqueece Harris-Dawson as she called for unarmed responses to mental health crises. Her cousin, 31-year-old Keenan Anderson, died Jan. 3 after police tased him four times within the span of about 30 seconds.

The backstory:  LAPD Chief Michel Moore claimed Anderson had been involved in a traffic collision and was attempting to flee. In police body-cam video released last week, Anderson appears distraught and says at one point that someone is trying to kill him. In other incidents, Takar Smith and Oscar Leon Sanchez appeared to be experiencing a mental health crisis when they were fatally shot by LAPD officers. All three died within the first week of 2023.

Calls for reform:  The deaths have renewed calls from activists and lawmakers for police reforms around mental health calls and traffic stops. On Tuesday, Black Lives Matter LA co-founder Melina Abdullah called for Moore to be removed from office. She also called for the removal of police from mental health crisis calls and traffic stops and new policies around the use of tasers, among other reforms.

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Go Deeper: As LA Struggles To Ramp Up Unarmed Mental Health Crisis Response, Some Families Are Left Feeling ‘Helpless’