Last Thursday in Cleveland, Ohio, 37-year-old Tanesha Anderson was killed by police officers after they gruesomely “slammed” her head against concrete. This horrific killing was witnessed by family members as it happened right outside their home. Anderson was pronounced dead at the Cleveland Clinic shortly after the assault by Ohio police. “They killed my sister,” Joell Anderson, Tanesha’s 40-year-old brother said as he fought back tears. “I watched it.”
Tanesha experienced a long-going battle with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. On the night she was killed, Anderson began to act uncontrollably hyper following an argument. A family member made a call to the police to come and help calm down Anderson. It’s being reported that everyone agreed Tanesha should undergo an evaluation at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center. The officers that showed up were given the impression the call was for “disturbing the peace” and based on first witness accounts, there’s indication that the police operated with hostility as soon as they arrived.
“As the officers escorted Anderson to the police vehicle, she began actively resisting the officers,” police spokesman Sgt. Ali Pillow claimed to the local Cleveland publication, The Plain Dealer. Tanesha changed her mind about the evaluation after police slapped cuffs on her. She believed she was within her rights to decide whether she went for a voluntary evaluation. But police, at this point, argued that it was up to them. And then it’s being reported that Tanesha kicked at the officers and a short time after that, she stopped moving.
Joell recalls that she was placed in a “smothering” manner in the backseat of the police car. When she called for family, trying to escape the police’s violent grip, Joell claims he saw a sudden “Judo” behavior from the police. When she was taken out of the car, still hysterical, a cop “placed his knee on her back” and she was unconscious from then on. What’s worse is that Anderson was left unclothed from the waist down without explanation.
The Cleveland Police Department has announced that the Division of Police Use of Deadly Force Investigation Team is investigatin, but no arrests or expulsions have been made. As observers, we’ve been down this road before, with too many Black people in this country being handled with an uncalled for force, resulting in untimely deaths at the hands of the police. Remember when Eric Garner was placed in a chokehold by the police that ultimately killed him right on the street because he was also accused of resisting arrest? How are we supposed to trust the police when they continue to kill us right on the street?
RIP Tanesha Anderson and here’s hoping that your tragic death will keep more instances like this from happening.