Kenneth Chamberlain, Ex-Marine, Shot to Death by White Plains Police   Leave a comment

This week, the Westchester District Attorney’s Office announced they will present the case of an unarmed chronically ill elderly black man who was shot to death by White Plains police—who were supposed to have been there to help him—to a grand jury within the month. DA Janet DiFiore is getting criticized because of her initial reluctance to release the name of the officer who shot Marine veteran Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., White Plains Officer Anthony Carelli. “Janet DiFiore has continuously turned over investigations of questionable police actions of use of force back to the police department in question,” said Damon Jones, a New York rep for Blacks in Law Enforcement of America.

Spokesmen for the Westchester DA refuted those claims, pointing to a half dozen cop shooting cases the office has prosecuted in recent years—although there is controversy around those cases as well, including one in which critics say DiFiore’s office acted only after the FBI began investigating the case. Public Safety Commissioner David Chong told reporters that no evidence was hidden by either the cops or DA in Chamberlain’s case.

But Chamberlain’s family and lawyers say Carelli’s name was only released after investigation by newspapers forced the DA to confirm it, nearly five months after the shooting took place: “The name was uncovered as a result of thorough investigative reporting,” said Mayo Bartlett, the family’s attorney. “That’s very different then releasing the name. If they did release the name it would have given me a much better feeling. It was almost a game of hide and seek.”

Rob Riley, president of the White Plains Police Benevolent Association, defended Carelli: “We are very disappointed that anybody would release the name of this officer during an ongoing investigation,” Riley said. “Officer Anthony Carelli has numerous commendations and has been an excellent police officer, both on and off the job, and he deserves the right to a fair and impartial inquiry.” The family isn’t so sympathetic: “I’m for (Officer) Carelli getting a fair hearing, also,” son Kenneth Chamberlain Jr. told the Daily News. “Let the facts speak for themselves. But did my father get a fair hearing? No, he (Carelli) played judge and executioner right then and there.”

Carelli, an officer since 2004 who is also on trial in a separate police brutality case, is accused of shooting Chamberlain Sr. on Nov. 19 after an hour-long standoff with police. Chamberlain Sr., who suffered from a chronic heart condition and wore a pendant to signal LifeAid, had mistakenly triggered his medical alert that evening—police insisted on entering his apartment, although he said he was fine. Tensions grew as one officer who allegedly used the N-word, another officer was reportedly heard yelling, “I need to use your bathroom to pee!”, and others allegedly were taunting Chamberlain’s military service after they discovered he was a former Marine.

The lawyer for the family of Chamberlain Sr., who has reviewed the LifeAid audiobox recording (which picked up every sound inside the apartment during the fatal confrontation) and the security camera video, said: “The minute they got in the house, they didn’t even give him one command. They never mentioned ‘put your hands up.’ They never told him to lay down on the bed. The first thing they did…you could see the Taser light up…and you could see it going directly toward him.” Police claim Chamberlain first appeared to have a hatchet during the standoff, then later came at them with a knife—which wasn’t captured on video if it happened—and one cop fired two shots. Chamberlain died a few hours later in surgery from his wounds.


Posted April 9, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Uncategorized

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