Tanisha Anderson

Tanisha AndersonVulnerable woman dies after police ‘takedown’ manouver

from various sources – March 2016
submitted by – Danielle Roberts

Any news updates on this case will be listed at the foot of this item

Tanisha Anderson, 37 years old, tragically died on the night of the 12 November 2014.  Tanisha, from Cleveland, Ohio had been diagnosed in her early 20’s with bipolar disorder. She was prescribed medication for this and schizophrenia.

On the day of Tanisha’s death, she was described as having a “bad day” by her younger sister Jenifer.  Joell Anderson, Tanisha’s brother called the police in an attempt to help her after it was agreed that she should have an evaluation at a medical facility. Tanisha appeared to be disorientated and kept attempting to leave her home wearing nothing but a night gown.

After the police arrived there are two very different stories that emerged; one from the Cleveland police and the other from Tanisha’s family.

According to the Sargent Ali Pillow, the Cleveland police spokesperson Tanisha was began to actively resist the police officers. The police claimed that Tanisha had changed her mind about the voluntary medical evaluation to determine her mental state.

The police decided that it was now their decision; forcing Tanisha to go to the medical facility. However, Tanisha apparently started kicking at the officers. Pillow stated that “a short time later the woman stopped struggling and appeared to go limp. Officers found a faint pulse and immediately called EMS”.

The story depicted by her brother Joell, was completely different to this story. According to Joell, Tanisha sat herself in the back of the police car voluntarily; however, she quickly became agitated about the confined space she was in.

Tanisha kept trying to escape and the police apparently drew a taser.  Joell pleaded with the officers to not use the weapon and instead they used a ‘takedown’ move which resulted in Tanisha’s head hitting the concrete pavement. The police officer then placed his knee in her back and handcuffed her.

After this Tanisha did not move, or speak. Nevertheless, despite this, the police officers refused to attend to her until a female officer was present at the scene regardless of the fact that it was evident that she was unconscious.

In addition to this, during the ‘takedown’ manoeuvre completed by the officers Tanisha’s nightgown lifted above her waist. Joell had to use his own jacket to cover up his sister. It took 20 minutes until emergency services arrived.

None of the officers involved in this incident had been suspended temporarily, fired or sanctioned in any way. Although, the Cleveland Police Department have stated that their Division of Police Use of Deadly Force Investigation Team are investigating the case.

The coroner ruled Tanisha’s death a homicide. The cause of death was listed as “sudden death in association with physical restraint in a prone position in association with ischemic heart disease and bipolar disorder with agitation”.

Over recent months there have been several killings with Cleveland police Department playing a role. The Justice Report has revealed that the Cleveland Police Department are untrained and do not have formal instructions on how to treat individuals with mental health illnesses.

Since the coroner ruled that the death was a homicide due to being held in the prone position, Tanisha’s family have filed a civil law case against the officers involved. The lawsuit is for the use of excessive force. The two police officers have pleaded with the judge to dismiss the lawsuit.


Follow-up News:

Three years after Tanisha Anderson’s death, investigation ends with Cleveland officers cleared of criminal charges
November 2017

Tanisha Anderson’s family receives $2.25 million in settlement with Cleveland over death in police custody
6 February 2017

Officers ask judge to dismiss lawsuit in Tanisha Anderson case
8 July 2015

Tanisha Anderson: Cleveland sheriff to investigate police-involved death
24 June 2015

How Tanisha Anderson’s bad day turned into her last
5 June 2015

Family file civil rights lawsuit against Cleveland authorities
7 January 2015

Cops slam unarmed woman on the pavement, killing her in front of family
17 November 2014

Cleveland woman with mental illness died after police used takedown move, brother says
13 November 2014

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