Yesha Callahan

Tanisha Anderson Death Ruled a Homicide; Died In Police Custody


Tanisha Anderson (Photo Courtesy of Joell Anderson)

Tanisha Anderson died as a result of being physically restrained in a prone position by the Cleveland police on Nov. 13, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s office announced on Friday. Anderson’s death was ruled a homicide.

According to The Northeast Ohio Media Group,  Anderson’s official cause of death was ruled “sudden death associated with physical restraint in a prone position,” according to the medical examiner’s office.

Chris Harris, office spokesman, said the 37-year-old’s heart disease and bipolar disorder were considered contributing factors that increased her chance of sudden death.

According to reports, Anderson’s family called police twice on the day she died because she was having an episode. They allowed the Cleveland police to take Anderson to St. Vincent Charity Medical Center for an evaluation, but Anderson became afraid and began to kick at the officers as she was being escorted to the police car.

Police said Anderson began to kick at the officers as they escorted her to a police car, and went limp during the struggle. But Anderson’s brother, Joell Anderson, told Northeast Ohio Media Group that Anderson got nervous after voluntarily getting into the back of the police car.

She left the cruiser, and a police officer performed a take-down move, placed his knee on Anderson’s back as she lay face-down on the pavement and handcuffed her before she stopped moving, according to Anderson’s family.

The Cleveland Police Department released a statement saying that its Use of Deadly Force Investigation Team is looking into the factors surrounding Anderson’s death —– and their investigators have not yet determined if the officer’s use of force was justified.

Last month, the Department of Justice released a 58-page report which revealed that Cleveland Police Department officers are not properly trained to handle encounters with residents with mental illnesses. In addition to being poorly trained, the report also revealed the department does not practice proper de-escalation techniques to keep a situation from getting out of control and often resorts to cruel and excessive force against the mentally and medically ill.

Hoping her death will be a catalyst for change, Anderson’s family has publicly requested for the department to require every Cleveland police officer to receive 40 hours of special training given by the Cuyahoga County Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services.

Through a spokesman, Anderson’s family on Friday demanded “a thorough criminal investigation and an independent prosecutor that results in accountability by the police officers and the Cleveland police department.”

  1. January 5, 2015 - Reply

    Let me guess: No one will be indicted. White supremacy will admit to homicide but no one will be formally charged. Dangerous times we live in.

    • January 5, 2015 - Reply


      Agreed. But since she was having an “episode” , why would her family call
      the police and not paramedics?! I don’t expect a cop (of any color) to make a distinction between someone with a history of mental illness and a straight up criminal.

      • January 5, 2015 - Reply


        Maybe they didn’t get the mantra…I remember a poster in the past all pro police saying they trusted them in articles like this i don’t remember who though.

    • January 5, 2015 - Reply


      You are correct and that is the sad part.

  2. January 5, 2015 - Reply

    It sounds like she was slammed and held faced down like Eric Garnier. It never ceases to amaze me haw the same police who constantly kill black people manage to arrest armed whites without injury to anyone.

    • January 5, 2015 - Reply


      yeah, the recently apprehended white cop killer who hid for weeks in the woods showed up in court clean shaven, no scratches at all and is being called a “survivalist” and “Rambo cop”. Plus I want to know why those murders are not referred to as white on white crime.

      Killer cops and their apologists get spitting mad when these disparities are discussed so openly, it’s like they think it’s their God given right to murder any unarmed Black person.

    • January 5, 2015 - Reply


      That is a great point. Many armed white people are arrested all of the time without them being killed.

  3. January 5, 2015 - Reply

    And he will get away with murder like the rest.

    • January 5, 2015 - Reply

      @Mary Burrell

      Dang, as much as I like you, in this case, I hate to agree with you.

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