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A 37-year-old Cleveland woman is dead after police used a “takedown” move to slam her to the pavement during an arrest.

The woman, Tanesha Anderson, was bipolar and schizophrenic according to her brother, who told she was more so a danger to herself than the police detaining her. She was pronounced dead Thursday morning, two hours after the altercation.

 “They killed my sister,” her 40-year-old brother Joell Anderson said with welling eyes in his living room Thursday night. “I watched it.”

The incident began when a family member called police to report that Anderson was disturbing the peace. Police responded to the call, and together with Anderson’s family, decided that she should undergo evaluation at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center. But what police say happened during Anderson’s transport and what her family reports, differ greatly.


“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.”

Her brother, Joell Anderson, tells a different story.

“She was more of a danger to herself than others,” he said.

Two male officers escorted Tanesha Anderson, who was prescribed medication for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, 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.

Tanesha 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.

Anderson says the officer placed his knee on his sister’s back and handcuffed her. She never opened her eyes again, her brother said. When Anderson asked the officers to help revive his sister, they refused. It wasn’t until a female officer arrived on the scene that Tanesha Anderson was evaluated.

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 Tanesha Anderson lie on the ground for about 20 minutes until an ambulance arrived, Joell Anderson said.

A medical examiner has not yet determined what killed Anderson. It is unclear if the officers involved were placed on paid administrative leave, but the Cleveland Division of Police Use of Deadly Force Investigation Team is examining the incident.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Anderson’s family during this difficult time.


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