Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., a 68-year-old African-American Marine veteran, was fatally shot in November by White Plains, New York, by police officers. The officers were called to his home after he rolled over on his Medic Alert pendant. Medic Alert tried to call them back to report that this was a false alarm and that Mr. Chamberlain, who suffered from a heart condition was not in need of service. The police not only insisted upon showing up, but they also kicked down the man's front door, tasered him and shot him.
Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. had a heart condition and COPD and at 68, living alone, he needed some medical security. That is why he had Life Alert. One night in November 2011, as he slept, he somehow accidentally pressed the medical alert pendant that he wore. When Life Alert called and didn't get a response, the contacted the police. Before police arrived, Life Alert called the department and cancelled the call, claiming that it was false alarm. Mr. Chamberlain was alright. According to Life Alert, the police told them they weren't cancelling anything. They asked them to contact Mr. Chamberlain's son. The police said, "We're not contacting anyone. We don't need any mediators."
Life Alert's monitering box, which Mr. Chamberlain kept on his dining room table, monitered everything at all hours. The main office recorded everything the monitor heard. What the monitor heard will haunt Kenneth Chamberlain Jr. for the rest of his life. The police banged on his door for nearly an hour. Chamberlain Sr. continually told them he was fine and that it was false alarm. Eventually, he opened the door after the police told him they needed to see he was alright, but that wasn't enough. The police camera on the taser captured the door opening. Police continued trying to gain entry to his home, an apartment. It is unclear why the police needed access to the apartment at this point.
On the recording, Chamberlain Sr. is heard saying "Please, I am 68-years-old and I have a heart condition. Why are you doing this to me?" At another point he says, "I know you are going to do: you're going to come in here and you're going to kill me." The police officers can allegedly be heard saying, "I don't give a fuck, n***r!" Eventually, the police break the door down, tearing it off its hinges. According Chamberlain Jr. and his lawyers, Chamberlain Sr. can be clearly seen on the taser camera standing in only his boxer shorts with his hands at his side. Upon entering the apartment, the police, allegedly without a word, taze him for several seconds until one officer allegedly says, "That's enough."
According to police, they then shot him with beanbags. Nothing of the sort can be seen on the video. Then, the police shoot him twice with 40 caliber weapons, killing him. At some point, Chamberlain Sr. spoke directly to the monitor. "My name is Kenneth Chamberlain. This is my sworn testimony. White Plains police are going to come in here and kill me." According to Chamberlain Jr., his father could be heard begging police not to do this and not to kill him, to just leave him alone.
Over the next week, local news would report that a disturbed ax wielding man was killed attacking police. Others said he was armed with a knife. In response to public outcry, White Plains police stated that they were justified to use deadly force, because he had a knife and the taser was ineffective.
"Please, I am 68-years-old and have a heart condition."
"Police officers first used an electronic taser, which was discharged, hit the victim, and had no effect." (David Chong of the White Plains police department)
"I'm 68...have a heart condition..." "taser...had no effect."
Anybody want to lay odds on me for that one? The identity of the police officers involved has not been released, contrary to procedure. In an interview with Democracy Now, one lawyer to Chamberlain Jr., Randolph MacLaughlin has this to say about news reports of wild axemen and knifemen: "Well, first, one of the problems in a wrongful death case like this is, you’ve got a decedent, the person who’s dead, and the police initially put out their spin. And that’s a spin. That’s clearly a spin. The videotape had—there’s also a videotape of what happened in that hallway. There’s an audio tape. There’s a videotape of Mr. Chamberlain when they come at him with the taser." He said, "Mr. Chamberlain wasn’t attacking anyone. He was in his home. This idea that they—he attacked anyone with a hatchet is, frankly, a lie."
There is a petition calling for justice for Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr. here. Police are allegedly heard on this monitor making fun of him being a marine, using racial slurs, and ultimately when they came in, they gave no orders, or even spoke to him. They incapacitated him and killed him.