The Police Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr.
Caught on Tape
However, Chamberlain's family charged that the killing was unjustified.
In February, 2012, Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore allowed the victim's son, Kenneth Chamberlain Jr., and Chamberlain family attorneys, to listen to the LifeAid audio box recording of what happened in Chamberlain Sr.'s apartment on November 19, 2011. DiFiore did not release the recording to the public.
The family and its lawyers were also allowed to view and listen to the events as recorded by a video camera in the building hallway and a video camera attached to the taser police used.
Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr. and family attorney Mayo Bartlett appeared on a radio talk show on March 29, 2012 called Democracy Now! to discuss what they say those recordings reveal.
Chamberlain Jr. related, "The medical company asked him if he was all right. They didn't get a response. So, automatically, if you don't get a response, they send medical services to your house. They informed the police that they are responding to a medical emergency, not a crime. And once they arrived at my father's home, my father did tell them that he was OK. But for some reason, they wanted to gain entry into my father's home. I don't know why. And in the audio, you hear my father telling them that he's fine, he's OK."
According to Chamberlain Jr. and Bartlett, a distressed Chamberlain Sr. called out, "I'm a sick old man." At that point an officer is heard hurling a racial epithet, shouting, "We don't give a f---, n-----!"
The pair state that an officer orders, "Open the door, Kenny, you're a grown-ass man!"
Chamberlain Sr. calls, "Semper fi."
An officer sarcastically answers, "Oh, you're a Marine. Hoo-rah. Hoo-rah."
A baffled Chamberlain Jr. comments on the talk show, "This is somebody that served his country. Why would you even say that to him?"
Bartlett states that the LifeAid dispatcher offers to contact Chamberlain family members to help and also tried to cancel the call for police assistance but an officer replied, "We don't need any mediators."
Police have said Chamberlain Sr. tried to attack them with a weapon before they broke into his home. In the radio interview Chamberlain Jr. argues, "He was inside his home. Where was the immediate threat?"
Chamberlain Jr. said that while police pried the door open, a metal object appears to slide through the gap between the door and wall and fall into the hallway. He comments, "It's hard to tell what it is but that would be what police are saying was a hatchet."
Officers claim that after they broke open the door, Chamberlain Sr. threatened them with a weapon that appeared to be a knife. In the radio interview, Bartlett asserts that the video recording shows Chamberlain Sr. without any weapon, shirtless, and with his hands by his sides.
Chamberlain Jr. and Barlett say police failed to issue any commands. Barlett states, "They never mentioned 'Put your hands up.' They never told him to lay down on the bed." Rather, Chamberlain Jr. says, "At one point, you hear one of the officers say, 'Shut it off.'"Chamberlain Jr. indicates that what was shut off was the taser camera and that his father was shot and killed shortly afterward.
Co-host of Democracy Now! Juan Gonzales revealed that Officer Anthony Carelli, who shot Chamberlain Sr., is due in court late April 2012 in an unrelated 2008 police brutality case. According to Democracy Now!, Carelli "is accused of being the most brutal of a group of officers who allegedly beat two arrestees of Jordanian descent and called them 'rag heads.'"