The videos posted above, courtesy of Democracy Now!, are the accounts of the fatal shooting of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., a 68 year old African-American veteran of the United States Marines. In November, White Plains, NY police, responding to an alert from his medical alert device, broke down Kenneth Chamberlain Sr.’s door and tased him. After the taser didn’t put him down, the police shot him with a bean bag shot gun. And then, they switched to live ammunition, shooting him dead. The medical alert, had been triggered by mistake.
White Plains PD insist that Mr. Chamberlain was emotionally disturbed and pulled a knife, and that the use of lethal force was warranted. His family, however, question the police version of events, saying audio and video recorded at the scene, back them up. Mr. Chamberlain is even heard on the audio recording from his medical alert call, asking police to “Please leave me alone. I’m 68 with a heart condition. Why are you doing this to me”? It is also said that the police were recorded calling Mr. Chamberlain a racial slur, right before taking the door off of it’s hinges.
The name of the officer involved in the fatal shooting has yet to be released. The audio remains in the custody of the Westchester District Attorney’s Office. The events took place, last November, on the morning of the 19th, nearly 5 months ago. The DA has sworn to convene a Grand Jury investigation into the shooting. But as just noted, that was nearly 5 months ago.
Why did the police use so much force? And why did it turn deadly? Do the police mean to say that a taser AND a bean bag shot gun couldn’t subdue an allegedly “emotionally disturbed man pulling a knife”? Even if we take what the White Plains PD have said at face value, are you telling me lethal force was the only way to go? Could not a wound to the leg or arm have had an incapacitating effect? And why do the police always seem to have a “shoot to kill” mentality? And why haven’t the audio recordings been released to the family or made public? Is there something on those recordings that prove the family right, and the police wrong?
The family of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. is demanding justice. And so am I? So should we all.