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How could I even say something like that? What can be worse than to shoot and kill an unarmed teenager by a self-declared Neighborhood Watch guy hunting down a f*^ing c*^n right?

But I wonder after I heard the story of Kenneth Chamberlain, an unarmed African-American 68-year old veteran, (buried with military honors), who was unarmed and gunned down by real police officers inside his own apartment.

I urge you to listen to the what his son and the two attorneys for the Chamberlain family had to say this morning on Democracy Now. The video is below.

This video by ABC was first broadcasted explaining the incident. The son of Kenneth Chamberlain had just heard the audio and video evidence. The video was taken by the camera of the police officer's taser gun and from a hallway video camera. The audio by the box of the LifeAid device that was activated so that the audio was recorded by the LifeAid service.  

This is the video of today's show of Amy Goodman about this case:

Unarmed Black Beteran Kenneth Chamberlain Shot Dead by NY Police, Yet No Officers Charged"
Please watch the whole video. It is stunning.

This is how Juan Gonzales summarized what happened .

On the morning of November 19th, a 68-year-old former marine named Kenneth Chamberlain with a heart condition accidentally pressed the button on his medical alert system while sleeping. Responding to the alert, police officers from the city of White Plains, New York, arrived at Chamberlain’s apartment in a public housing complex shortly after 5 a.m. By the time the police left the apartment, Kenneth Chamberlain was dead, shot twice in the chest by a police officer inside his home. Police gained entry to Chamberlain’s apartment only after they took his front door off its hinges. Officers first shot him with a taser, then a beanbag shotgun, and then with live ammunition.
Here is the transcript of what you can see in Unarmed Black Beteran Kenneth Chamberlain Shot Dead by NY Police, Yet No Officers Charged

The video for the transcribed quote belowe starts at TC 14:30 - 21:19.

You can listen to what the son of Kenneth Chamberlain is saying:

AMY GOODMAN: Tell us what you understand happened early in the morning of November 19th.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: Well, it’s my understanding that, from what I’ve gathered right now, that my father accidentally pushed his medical pendant around his neck. He could have possibly turned over on it. We don’t know. We can only speculate about that.

AMY GOODMAN: Why did he wear it?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: He has a heart condition, and he also suffered from COPD. And when he—the pendant was triggered—

AMY GOODMAN: You’re holding that in—


AMY GOODMAN: —his hand.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: This is his pendant right here. It was triggered, and the medical company—there’s a box inside his home. 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.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Now, this is an important point, that there was audio going on throughout this between the firm and your father.


JUAN GONZALEZ: And so, much of the activity of the police was caught on this audio.


AMY GOODMAN: So the box on the wall records everything that’s—

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: It’s actually a box that just sat on his table in the—in his dining room area. It just sat there. And it’s connected to the phone company. So if he does trigger it, as I said, you hear a loud beeping noise. And then the operator, from their central station, will come on, and they say, "Mr. Chamberlain, are you OK? You triggered your alarm. Is everything all right?" And, of course, if they don’t get a response, they then contact the officials.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Now you were able to hear this audio because the DA’s office allowed you to hear it? How did you—


JUAN GONZALEZ: But it has not yet been released.


AMY GOODMAN: So, continue. You hear your father through the door telling the police he’s OK. This is about 5:00 in the morning?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: Yes. He’s saying that he’s OK. He’s saying that he did not call for them. But they were very insistent. They were banging on the door, banging on the door, banging on the door.  So you hear one of the officers say to him, "Well, you pushed your—you triggered your alarm now." He said, "That’s because I want you to leave me alone." And they just kept telling him, "Open the door. Open the door. Let us see that you’re all right." At some point, the door was cracked open, because the police officers have a taser that has a camera on it, and it also has audio.

So you could see where the door was cracked open.  So, once you’ve gotten a visual, and you’ve seen that my father is OK, and he’s telling you that he’s OK, why would you still insist on getting into the apartment? Which is the question that I have. And they weren’t responding to a crime. He was sleeping and accidentally triggered his alarm.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And the officers then did what?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: Ultimately, after using expletives and racial slurs, they broke down the door. You can see on the video from the taser that they fired a taser at him. And I’m assuming that both prongs didn’t go in. He stood about maybe eight to 10 feet away from them with his hands down to his side. And at one point, you hear one of the officers say, "Cut it off." And it was at that point they shot and killed my father.

AMY GOODMAN: They shot him with beanbag also?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: Well, we didn’t see that. So I can’t—I can’t confirm or deny that.

AMY GOODMAN: Did you hear what the police officers were saying, were shouting to him before they—did they take the door off the hinges?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: They took it completely off the hinges.

AMY GOODMAN: To get in.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: Yes. There were no orders given to him once they knocked the door down, though, which you would have expected, that they would have given some type of verbal command and said, "Get down on the floor. Put your hands up. Get against the wall." None of those things were said.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And the allegation that he tried to attack them with a weapon first through the crack in the door and then once they got in the house?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: I didn’t see that. I can’t say that it didn’t happen, but from the video that I’ve seen and from what I gathered from the audio, I didn’t see where my father attacked them. And he was inside his home, so where was the immediate threat?

AMY GOODMAN: What exactly did you hear your father say? He was inside the house as the police are coming inside, and the medical pendant company is recording all of this.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: I’ve heard—I heard several things on there. One thing you hear is my father pleading with them to leave him alone. Excuse me. You hear him asking them why are they doing this to him. He says, "I’m a 68-year-old man with a heart condition. Why are you doing this to me? I know what you’re going to do: you’re going to come in here, and you’re going to kill me." You also hear him pleading with the officers again, over and over. And at one point, that’s when the expletive is used by one of the police officers.

AMY GOODMAN: What did they say?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: Where they say, "I don’t give a F." And then they use the N-word. And then, as I said, ultimately, they bust down the door. And it hurts because, as I said, it didn’t have to go to that point. You also hear the operators from the LifeAid company call the police station and say that they want to cancel the call, Mr. Chamberlain is OK. And at one point you hear the officer there at their central office say, "We’re not canceling anything." They say, "Call his son. Contact his son." And they say, "We’re not contacting anyone. We don’t need any mediators."

What is so very troubling in this is that the police answered to an emergency call from the LIfeAid service. Kenneth Chamberlain was wearing a LifeAid device that he could push in case something is happening to him while he is alone at home. It was the Life Aid service who called the police after LifeAid didn't hear him responding after his medial alert pendant was triggered.

Here is what Mayo Bartlett, attorney for family of Kenneth Chamberlain, who is the former chief of the Bias Crimes Unit of the Westchester County District Attorney’s office and the former chair of the Westchester County Human Rights Commission, said:
(see TC 22:40 - 23:45)

And in this case, Mr. Chamberlain didn’t have a gun. Mr. Chamberlain, when I saw the videotape, did not have a knife when he was in his apartment. You see a 68-year-old man with no shirt on and boxer shorts and his hands down at his sides. And I didn’t see any weapon in his hands there.

And the other thing that’s troubling to me is the fact that a taser was used at all, because you’re there for a medical response. You’re not there investigating a criminal act. You are there with the understanding that there may be a person who needs medical assistance.

AMY GOODMAN: For a man with a heart condition, no less.

MAYO BARTLETT: Absolutely. And so, if you understand that, to use a taser, which is going to send significant electricity through that person’s body, would be, at best, reckless. And that alone could cause his death. And the thing that’s extremely troubling to me is that, again, the police were not there to respond to criminal activity. They went to the gentleman’s house at 5:00 in the morning to give him assistance. The only reason that he had the LifeAid pendant to begin with was so that his family and that he would be comfortable that if something was to occur, he would be able to get assistance.

And on top of all of it, listen to the headlines in the newspapers directly after the incident Amy Goodman is mentioning.  (see TC 23:50 ++ )

Randolph McLaughlin, attorney for the family of Kenneth Chamberlain and a longtime civil rights attorne, compared this case to the Zimmerman case saying this:
(See TC 24:27 ++)

RANDOLPH McLAUGHLIN: Well, first, one of the problems in a wrongful death case like this is, you’ve got a decedent, the person who’s dead, and the police initially put out their spin. And that’s a spin. That’s clearly a spin.

The videotape had—there’s also a videotape of what happened in that hallway. There’s an audio tape. There’s a videotape of Mr. Chamberlain when they come at him with the taser. This is a clear violation of criminal law and of constitutional rights. In our country, we have a Fourth Amendment that says we’re supposed to be secure in our own homes. Mr. Chamberlain wasn’t attacking anyone. He was in his home. This idea that they—he attacked anyone with a hatchet is, frankly, a lie. That’s what it is.

It’s a cover story to cover up what they’ve done here. And we’re meeting with the district attorney this afternoon, of Westchester County, to press for a full prosecution of the highest crimes in this state. There’s a petition, and online petition, that Mr. Chamberlain has put out, and we’re presenting that petition to her today, as well.

RANDOLPH McLAUGHLIN: They have so many problems here. Mr. Chamberlain’s niece was in the hallway right at the time when they were banging on the door. She said to them, "I’m his niece." They pushed her away.

AMY GOODMAN: She lived upstairs?


RANDOLPH McLAUGHLIN: On the fifth floor. Another officer who was present had a full head-to-toe body shield that could stop bullets. And rather than secure the situation—let’s assume for the sake of this discussion that they had a right to see him to make sure he was OK. OK, so the door is open. You see him there. Why are you entering his apartment? It’s kind of like Zimmerman. You provoke a situation, then you respond to it, "Oh, I had to use deadly force to protect myself." No, you provoked the situation. You had no right to cross that man’s threshold in his home. That’s what led to the problem.

You can decide for yourself about this case.  As of TC 31:10 you can see for yourself how it feels to lose your father through a police officer shooting an old unarmed man in his home, who was supposedly there to give him medical assistance.

Taser guns should be outlawed. No further comments. Just thought this case should be mentioned here, as the Zimmerman case is so closely followed, this one deserves the same scrutiny.

Originally posted to mimi on Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 11:52 AM PDT.

Also republished by Invisible People and Barriers and Bridges.

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