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ByThe Plain Dealer
on November 13, 2014
Tanisha Anderson was pronounced dead at Cleveland Clinic early Thursday after an altercation with officers nearly two hours earlier on the 1300 block of Ansel Road.
“They killed my sister,” her 40-year-old brother Joell Anderson said with welling eyes in his living room Thursday night. “I watched it.”
Officers were called to the home after a family member reported that Anderson was disturbing the peace.
Patrolmen had lengthy discussions with Tanisha Anderson and members of her family. Everyone agreed she should undergo an evaluation at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, police said.
The official police account of what happened next is at odds with what several members of Tanisha Anderson’s family said they witnessed.
“As the officers escorted Anderson to the police vehicle, she began actively resisting the officers,” police spokesman Sgt. Ali Pillow said in a press release.
Officers placed her in handcuffs and she began to resist officers’ attempts to put her in a squad car, Pillow said.
“The woman began to kick at officers,” he said. “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.”
Joell Anderson gave a different account.
“She was more of a danger to herself than others,” he said.
Two male officers escorted Tanisha Anderson, who was prescribed medication for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia [see note below], to the police cruiser. She sat herself in the backseat but became nervous about the confined space and tried to get out, Anderson said.
Police struggled to keep her in the car and an officer eventually drew a Taser. Joell Anderson said he begged the officer not to use the weapon on his sister.
Tanisha Anderson called out for her brother and mother while an officer repeatedly pressed down on her head to get her into the backseat. After several attempts, the officer used a takedown move to force her to the pavement, Joell Anderson said.
The officer placed his knee on Tanisha Anderson’s back and handcuffed her. She never opened her eyes or spoke another word, her brother said.
Joell Anderson asked officers to help his unconscious sister. They refused to touch the East High School graduate until a female officer called to the scene arrived, Joell Anderson said.
His sister’s sundress was lifted above her waist when the officer took her down. Joell Anderson used his jacket to cover her naked lower body.
The Anderson family watched Tanisha Anderson lie on the ground for about 20 minutes until an ambulance arrived, Joell Anderson said. The medical examiner has not determined what killed the woman.
“She was outgoing, silly, always joking,” Joell Anderson said. “She just wasn’t doing very well that day.”
The Cleveland Division of Police Use of Deadly Force Investigation Team is examining the case.
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Medical examiner releases full autopsy report on Tanisha Anderson, woman killed in Cleveland police altercation (document)
According to the toxicology report released in the autopsy, Tanisha had a number of substances in her system the day she died. These were:
- cotanine (a nicotine metabolite)
- citalopram (very high level)
- quetiapine (Seroquel)
- diphenhydramine (Benadryl)