Death Of Tanisha Anderson, Mentally Ill Woman In Police Custody, Ruled A Homicide

Death Of Mentally Ill Woman In Police Custody Ruled A Homicide

The death of Tanisha Anderson, the Cleveland woman who died in police custody late last year, has been ruled a homicide.

According to the Northeast Ohio Media Group, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office announced its assessment on Friday, saying that the woman died “as a result of being physically restrained in a prone position by Cleveland police.

Anderson suffered from heart disease and mental illness. The medical examiner’s office said those conditions were also factors in her death, per CBS News.

Anderson died in November following an encounter with Cleveland police. The woman’s family had reportedly called the cops for help after the 37-year-old began having a mental health episode. When the police arrived, the family is said to have agreed to let them take Anderson to a hospital to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

Police have said that Anderson began to struggle with officers who were attempting to escort her to a police car, before she suddenly and inexplicably became limp. The woman’s family, however, told Northeast Ohio Media Group that an officer performed a “takedown move” on Anderson, roughly wrestling with the woman before putting his knee on her back as she lay prone on the ground.

According to Friday’s medical examiner’s office report, Anderson suffered a “sudden death associated with physical restraint,” per WKYC-TV.

In the months since her death, Anderson has become a symbol in the ongoing conversation about police brutality in America, sparked last year by the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and others.

On Friday, Anderson’s family released a statement “demand[ing] justice for Tanisha, a thorough criminal investigation and an independent prosecutor that results in accountability by the police officers and the Cleveland Police Department,” per WOIO.

Just last month, the Justice Department released a report accusing the Cleveland police of using excessive or unnecessary force at a “significant rate,” per CNN. The report -- the result of a two-year investigation -- added that officers were also found to have used excessive force on those "who are mentally ill or in crisis.”

According to The Associated Press, the Cleveland Police Department has said in a statement that it is conducting an investigation into Anderson’s death. Two officers involved have reportedly been placed on restricted duty.

Before You Go

Michael Brown
Pool via Getty Images
On Aug. 9, the unarmed 18-year-old was shot dead by Ferguson, Missouri, Police Officer Darren Wilson. Wilson claimed he shot Brown as the teen ran at him after the two fought over his gun. But multiple witnesses, including the majority of those heard by a grand jury, said Brown did not run toward the officer. Many said Brown had his hands up when he was shot and killed. On Nov. 24, a grand jury voted not to indict Wilson, setting off protests across America.
Eric Garner
Associated Press
New York City police suspected Eric Garner of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes on July 17. In an attempt to place him under arrest, officer Daniel Pantaleo put Garner in what New York Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton described as a chokehold, a move banned by the department. Garner can be seen in a video of the incident saying he can’t breathe as Pantaleo holds him. He is later pronounced dead at a hospital. A Staten Island grand jury voted on Dec. 2 not to indict Pantaleo, setting off another wave of national protests.
Tamir Rice
Associated Press
On Nov. 22, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot by police in Cleveland who were responding to reports of someone with a gun. The weapon he had in his hand was a pellet gun. Rice died a day later in the hospital. Video footage released by police showed that Timothy Loehmann, the officer who killed Rice, shot him within two seconds of exiting his car.
Akai Gurley
Associated Press
On Nov. 20, 28-year-old Akai Gurley exited his girlfriend's apartment in a Brooklyn, New York, public housing building. He started going down a dark stairwell that had a broken light. Rookie New York Police Department Officer Peter Liang, who had his gun drawn as he patrolled the stairwell, shot and killed Gurley. Police said the shooting was accidental. The New York Daily News reported that, instead of calling an ambulance, Liang texted his union representative after he shot Gurley. A grand jury will determine whether Liang faces charges.
John Crawford III
Associated Press
On Aug. 5, 22-year-old John Crawford III was shot and killed by police inside a Beavercreek, Ohio, Walmart. Crawford was carrying an air rifle that he had picked up inside the store. Cops were called to investigate a man waving what could be a firearm. Police said Crawford refused to put down the gun and turned toward them in a threatening way. But lawyers representing Crawford's family say the officers were reckless and negligent. A grand jury voted not to indict either of the officers involved in the killing.
Ezell Ford
On Aug. 11, Los Angeles police conducted "an investigative stop" and interrogated unarmed 25-year-old Ezell Ford. At some point, Ford was shot and killed. An LAPD statement on the killing said, "During the stop a struggle ensued, which resulted in an officer-involved-shooting." But witnesses told The Huffington Post that police shouted, "Shoot him," moments before three bullets hit Ford, who was on the ground. The case remains under investigation.
Samantha Ramsey
Samantha Ramsey was killed as she tried to drive away from a party on April 26 in Boone County, Kentucky. Boone County deputy Tyler Brockman said he shot Ramsey after she ran over his foot and forced him onto the hood of her car. He said he feared for his life and the lives of others when he opened fire. But witnesses said Brockman jumped onto the hood of her car and killed her unnecessarily. In November, a grand jury voted not to indict Brockman.
Darrien Hunt
Associated Press
Darrien Hunt was shot seven times by Saratoga Springs, Utah, police who were investigating reports of a man with a sword on Sept. 10 at a shopping center. Hunt's family said the sword was a replica. Police said Hunt refused to give up his sword and then started swinging it at them. An autopsy report determined that Hunt was shot seven times by officers, including several times in the back as he fled from police. The Hunt family's attorney, Bob Sykes, disputed assertions from cops that the 22-year-old acted aggressively. "I think it's a whitewash. I think it's an exaggeration," Sykes said. "I think they ignored good hard evidence to the contrary."
Rumain Brisbon
Associated Press
Phoenix Police Officer Mark Rine was investigating a tip that 34-year-old Rumain Brisbon was selling drugs inside an SUV on Dec. 2. Police said Brisbon didn't obey the officer's commands and instead fled inside an apartment complex where a struggle ensued. During the struggle, Rine mistook a pill bottle in Brisbon's pants for a gun and fatally shot him, according to police. Brisbon was unarmed, though police found a gun in his SUV. Prosecutors are investigating whether Rine should face charges.
Kajieme Powell
The Washington Post via Getty Images
Less than two weeks after Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri, 25-year-old Kajieme Powell was shot and killed by police in nearby St. Louis. Police were called to a convenience store to investigate a man causing a disturbance and acting irrationally. They found Powell with a knife in his hand, and graphic video shows Powell approaching them yelling, "Shoot me." But the video also appears to undermine some of the initial assertions from police. Instead of holding the knife in an overhand grip, as police said, Powell had his hands at his sides.Powell also did not get as close to the cops as they originally claimed.

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