In November of last year, a police shooting occurred in White Plains, New York.
Kenneth Chamberlain was a 68 year-old former Marine with a heart condition. After accidentally triggering his medical alert pendant in the middle of the night, the cops knocked on his door, waking him up. He responds to police by going to the door but not opening it. Frankly, he’s distrustful of the police. He tells them that he’s fine. There’s no problem, they can go away.
They refuse to go away. They keep telling him to open the door. They grow angrier and angrier with him, warning Kenneth that they’re going to break down the door. It becomes a police-driven confrontation that spirals off into hell. Democracy Now interviewed Kenneth Jr., the victim’s son:
KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: Ultimately, after using expletives and racial slurs, they broke down the door. You can see on the video from the taser that they fired a taser at him. And I’m assuming that both prongs didn’t go in. He stood about maybe eight to 10 feet away from them with his hands down to his side. And at one point, you hear one of the officers say, “Cut it off.” And it was at that point they shot and killed my father.
Who checks in on a veteran with a heart condition and tasers him? The police report indicates they then shot him with a beanbag. After that, they shot Chamberlain dead, right in his own apartment. Why? They say he wielded a knife. That claim isn’t supported by audio and video of the incident. What’s more likely is that this was a homicide involving racist cops:
KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: I’ve heard—I heard several things on there. One thing you hear is my father pleading with them to leave him alone. Excuse me. You hear him asking them why are they doing this to him. He says, “I’m a 68-year-old man with a heart condition. Why are you doing this to me? I know what you’re going to do: you’re going to come in here, and you’re going to kill me.” You also hear him pleading with the officers again, over and over. And at one point, that’s when the expletive is used by one of the police officers.
AMY GOODMAN: What did they say?
KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: Where they say, “I don’t give a F.” And then they use the N-word. And then, as I said, ultimately, they bust down the door. And it hurts because, as I said, it didn’t have to go to that point. You also hear the operators from the LifeAid company call the police station and say that they want to cancel the call, Mr. Chamberlain is OK. And at one point you hear the officer there at their central office say, “We’re not canceling anything.” They say, “Call his son. Contact his son.” And they say, “We’re not contacting anyone. We don’t need any mediators.” …
KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: And in 45 years of me being on this earth, that was the very first time that I ever heard my father where he was pleading and begging for his life, someone who I looked at as being extremely strong, to hear him beg for his life, to say that this was his sworn testimony on the audio, which the police did not know that was being recorded. He said, “My name is Kenneth Chamberlain. This is my sworn testimony. White Plains police are going to come in here and kill me.”
While Kenneth Jr. and his attorney have seen and heard the tapes, the police refuse to release them to the public. Police won’t release the names of the officers, and won’t say whether they’ve been suspended or are still on active duty. The District Attorney has done nothing so far. The whole thing reeks. Does anybody really wonder why black people still view cops with distrust?
Video and transcript here. The victim’s sister speaks out.