Formerly homeless Army vet launches software for rating police after his partner was killed by a copWednesday, September 13, 2017
CNBC – By: Lora Kolodny
Growing up in Oklahoma, Brandon D. Anderson didn’t have any ambition to become a tech entrepreneur.
“I was a queer, black and homeless teen. I didn’t even have the mental space to dream.” He struggled, but at least he was with his “soul mate,” another homeless teen whose name Anderson wouldn’t share at the request of the man’s family.
Anderson enlisted in the Army around 2003, keeping his love life a secret as required by army policy at the time. Then in 2007, he suddenly came out to his front-line supervisor.
He had to, he said, if he wanted to see his partner again. The man was hospitalized and lay dying after a traffic stop in Oklahoma City turned tragic.
“The police said they thought he had stolen a car. He had not,” Anderson soberly recalls. “He was in the hospital for some time. They beat him first. They killed him.”
The experience inspired Anderson to become a dedicated community organizer, helping other military veterans dismissed from the Army for their sexuality seek honorable discharges, and later organizing discussions around police brutality.
Now, with funding from Silicon Valley accelerator FastForward and an initiative called My Brother’s Keeper started by President Obama, Anderson is taking a tech approach to the problem.