Tanisha Anderson, a 37-year-old mother, died under mysterious circumstances while in the custody of the Cleveland police department. Anderson’s family feels that cops are responsible for Anderson’s death because of a violent take down maneuver used on Anderson that left her collapsed on a sidewalk in the cold.
Although Cleveland police have not released the 911 calls made by her family members, the family reports that they called for medical and mental health assistance after Anderson became uncontrollably hyper after an argument.
Anderson’s family reports that she had an ongoing battle with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Although the family reports only having requested an ambulance to come transport Anderson to a mental health facility that she had frequented in previous weeks, police were sent instead of an ambulance. Officers who arrived at the residence were responding to an incident that they viewed more as a “disturbing the peace,” according to eyewitnesses who cited the officers hostile treatment of Anderson.
An official police statement reports, “As the officers escorted Anderson to the police vehicle, she began actively resisting officers The woman began to kick at officers…A short time later the woman stopped struggling and appeared to go limp.” Anderson’s family adamantly denies officers version of events, stating that Anderson never kicked officers.
Anderson’s brother Joell states that she voluntarily entered the police vehicle but became uncomfortable being in the confined space and tried to exit the vehicle. An officer then drew a taser. Joell says that Anderson called out to him and her mother as an officer repetitively pressed her head against the backseat of the vehicle. The officers followed that with an aggressive takedown move, with an officer’s knee winding up on Anderson’s back. According to Anderson’s nephew, she began reciting the Lord’s Prayer, stating, “Our Father Who Art In Heaven. Hallowed Be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done,” before becoming unconscious. Joell reports that his sister never opened her eyes or spoke another word.
A Facebook group started by family members demanding that Anderson receive justice had the following summary of events:
“When the police arrived, the family asked if they could take Tanisha to the Hospital for a mental health evaluation, but as they attempted to put Tanisha in the police car, she did not want to go. She begged and pleaded not to be taken to the hospital where she had been before and avoided getting in the car. She was then restrained by a male police officer using excessive force, tackled down to the ground using the “Take Down” move, then put into hand cuffs .The police officer then called over a second officer who assisted in pinning Tanisha face down on the ground with his knee pressed down heavily into the back for 6 to 7 minutes, until her body went completely limp. When witnesses asked was she OK after noticing she stopped moving, the officers replied by saying she was fine, SHES JUST SLEEPING; ATTEMPTING TO COVER UP THE FACT THE HE JUST COMMITTED MURDER. The officer allowed my sister to lie faced down on the blistering cold ground, handcuffed, for over 20 minutes until the ambulance finally arrive. They never attempted to resuscitate her at any point before EMT arrived. Instead they continued to cover up the fact that she was dead by saying she was sleeping while she lie there Life-Less!!”