WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — How did a call for help lead to police killing a man in his home? A grand jury in Westchester County was considering the case Monday involving White Plains Police, a medical false alarm, and the fatal shooting of a former Marine.
There were tears Monday for a man killed in his own home by police. The family of 68-year-old Kenneth Chamberlain said the more they learn about his death the more confused they become, reported CBS 2’s Lou Young. Chamberlain, who served in both Vietnam and Haiti, was shot to death following an incident involving police on Nov. 19 at around 5 a.m.
The fatal encounter with White Plains cops took place after Chamberlain’s medical alert system was accidentally triggered. The alert was cancelled but the system continued to record what followed along with police video outside. The Westchester County district attorney played the tapes for the Chamberlain family. Kenneth Chamberlain Jr., said for him, they change everything.
The dead man’s son sat down with CBS 2’s Young and listened to the medic-alert audio and watched the video taken through a police camera mounted on the Taser they used.
“When we heard the audio, when we saw the video, part of me wanted to see my father be aggressive so I could say ‘I understand the police had no alternative.’ But we didn’t see that. We saw a man with his hands at his side,” Chamberlain said.
There is no doubt the scene was chaotic, but Kenneth Chamberlain was inside and the cops were outside demanding to be let in. Sources told Young it went on like that for 90 minutes.
Chamberlain sounded agitated and upset on the audio. What followed were an ugly set of exchanges. What begins as a medical aid call evolved into something else as police finally forced their way inside, Young reported.
“You hear them taunting — the police taunting — my father. You hear expletives. You hear racial slurs,” Kenneth Chamberlain Jr. said.
A law enforcement source told Young police were trying to “relate” to Chamberlain, but he was combative and had a knife. The family’s attorney said he doesn’t buy it. He said the casual use of offensive slang before they entered indicates a deeper problem.
“He feels so comfortable that this word can just slip out of his mouth. The n-word! I’m positive. Not only did I hear it, I saw it on the transcript,” attorney Randolph McLaughlin said.
Police came through the door, shot Chamberlain with a Taser that partially missed and then shot him with a shotgun loaded with beanbags and a 9mm handgun almost simultaneously, Young reported. The autopsy showed Chamberlain had been drinking and was killed by a gunshot that hit him from the side, went through his arm and laterally through his torso hitting both lungs.
“My father knew his rights. He was former law enforcement; he was a corrections officer so he knew he didn’t have to open his door because he wasn’t … he hadn’t committed a crime,” Kenneth Chamberlain Jr. said.
Now a grand jury is considering whether or not a police officer may have committed a crime in deciding to use deadly force. No one in the White Plains Police Department or at City Hall would talk to Young on the record.
Of the seven to 10 officers who were present, only one is facing possible criminal charges. The shooter — Officer Anthony Carelli — is expected to testify before the grand jury in the coming week.
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