When news broke that Tanisha Anderson, an African-American woman was dead, the many people who knew her were shocked to the bone. This is because, Tanisha before encountering the police was a healthy person, and nobody imagined that she could have died in such an agonizingly brutal way, by the very people who had vowed to protect hers and every other innocent civilians life.
Tanisha’s autopsy report, has revealed that the officer who killed her had first physically restrained her and faced her down in a prone position. The official cause of death was determined by the coroners to be “sudden death associated with physical restraint in a prone position.” Her family members have maintained this account from day one of her death.
The Cleveland police report, on the incident, admits that Tanisha was not violent; so many are questioning why she died so brutally in the hands of police if she was not harmed.
Now, her uncle-Michael Anderson, has even revealed that his niece had recited the Lord’s Prayer, calling for help from the police, but was ignored.
According to the police account, on Tanisha’s death, officers had a distress call from a family member who thought the police could calm down Tanisha, who suffered with bi-polar, during an argument.
When officers arrived, the family agreed that Tanisha should undergo an evaluation at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center.
Police spokesman-Sgt. Ali Pillow, told the local Cleveland publication, The Plain Dealer “As the officers escorted Anderson to the police vehicle, she began actively resisting the officers. The woman began to kick at officers. A short time later the woman stopped struggling and appeared to go limp. Officers found a faint pulse on the victim and immediately called EMS.”
But, this account by the police has been strongly refuted by Tanisha’s elder brother, who said he saw all the events leading up to his sister’s death.
“They killed my sister,” Joell Anderson, Tanisha’s 40-year-old brother, said as he fought back tears. “I watched it.”
Joell explained that Tanisha was pronounced dead at Cleveland Clinic, after the assault by the Ohio police. He said the police had caused Tanisha to hit her head on the concrete, when she was taken by police at the home.
According to Joell, two male officers escorted Tanisha, who was prescribed medication for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, to the police cruiser. She sat herself in the backseat, but became nervous about the confined space and tried to get out. As Tanisha called out for her brother and mother, an officer used a Judo take down move after having pressed her head down repeatedly in the backseat, in what seemed to be a smothering manner. This action by the officer forced Tanisha to hit her head on the concrete, and the officer placed his knee on her back. The police, according to Joell, refused to even administer first aid.
“She was more of a danger to herself than others. She was outgoing, silly, always joking. She just wasn’t doing very well that day”, Joell testified about his sister. Uncle Anderson, also admitted hearing Tanisha reciting the Lord’s Prayer.
The Cleveland Police Department, has said the Division of Police Use of Deadly Force Investigation Team is investigating the incident. Meanwhile, no officer involved has been fired, reprimanded, nor placed on leave.
Already, a 58-page Justice Department report has revealed that the Cleveland Police Department is woefully untrained and does not have formal instruction in how to handle encounters with citizens who have mental illnesses. Activists believe this incident has just confirmed the Justice report on police handling of citizens with mental illness in Cleveland.
They have held protests, demanding justice for Tanisha. Tanisha’s death only adds to the many souls that have been wasted by police brutalities, for no apparent reason. May her soul find rest. Now, in the name of justice, we demand that the police cease recklessly killing innocent citizens in the U.S.
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