Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Police Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr.

A Grand Jury Convenes

Housing project where Chamberlain lived.
Housing project where Chamberlain lived.
Beginning in late March and early April 2012, over 200,000 people signed an online petition demanding justice in the Chamberlain case. On March 30, 2012, White Plains Mayor Tom Roach issued a public statement extending condolences to the Chamberlain family.

On April 11, 2012, a grand jury began listening to testimony about the Chamberlain Sr. shooting. The grand jury was convened to decide whether or not criminal charges should be brought in his death.

April 12 would have been Chamberlain Sr.'s 69th birthday. Chamberlain Jr. noted that the family still grieves — and seeks answers. "As far as our family — everyone is holding it together," he commented. "It's very upsetting, all of the media and everything — it's definitely overwhelming, but we have to continue to push this and make the public aware of what's happening."

Chamberlain Jr. also asserts that the Chamberlain family has no bias against law enforcement. "Me and my family are not anti-police," he states. "We are anti-individuals who feel like they can do whatever they want, to whomever they want, then hide behind the badge — but we are not anti-police. My father was [in] law enforcement, so why would we be anti-police?"

The Chamberlain family hoped the convening of the grand jury is a first step toward a satisfactory legal resolution of this case. Chamberlain Jr. said, "We're just very pleased that the evidence is finally being presented to the grand jury. We're just waiting now for what the decision is going to be after they present all the evidence. Hopefully, they'll come back with a criminal indictment. [Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore] has assured me she will present any and all evidence on this case to a grand jury, and we've taken her word on that."

On May 3, a 23-person grand jury voted against an indictment in the Kenneth Chamberlain case. After hearing testimony from 42 people, the grand jury came to the conclusion that there is no reasonable cause for charges to be filed.  After hearing the decision, Chamberlain family lawyer Mayo Bartlett said, "It was my belief that at a minimum there would be a consideration at least of the charge of criminally negligent homicide," Bartlett said. "We don't know what charges were considered, we don't know if multiple charges were considered and we don't know who the targets of this investigation were."

The Chamberlain family issued the following statement: "As I have stated before it is hard to put trust in a system that I feel has failed me already and that no indictment sends a very strong message to the people of Westchester County regarding police misconduct, brutality and criminality.  There will be justice for Kenneth Chamberlain Sr."


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