Kenneth Chamberlain Sr.
Kenneth Chamberlain is and will always be 68 years old. He is a retired marine and served 20 years in the Westchester Department of Corrections. Kenneth was a husband, uncle, and father.
On the morning of November 19th, 2011, Kenneth inadvertently set off his “LifeAid” necklace. After failing to get a hold of Kenneth, LifeAid contacted the White Plains police and dispatched officers and EMTs. Kenneth answered the door and said that he was fine, and everything was ok. The officers refused to leave until they could come inside the apartment.
Kenneth contacted LifeAid and told them to call off the police report. The LifeAid call was active for a majority of the morning. In the recording, you can hear Kenneth clearly stating that he was fine and for the police to leave him alone. Steven Hart was also recorded calling Kenneth a N****. The police refused to leave, and subsequently tore down his door.
Police alleged that Kenneth approached them with a butcher knife. They tased him and shot him with bean bag rounds from a shotgun. The police alleged that he continued to charge at him when Officer Carelli shot him twice in the chest with live ammunition. The autopsy revealed that Kenneth’s hands were at his sides and deadly force was not necessary.
In 2012, a grand jury refused to indict any of the officers involved in the shooting. The Westchester District Attorney, Janet DiFiore, refused to press charges claiming that the officers acted “appropriately due to the circumstances.”
Kenneth Jr. filed a $21 million civil suit against the city the White Plains police department. The federal judge in the case dismissed some of the claims of unlawful search and seizure.
In June 2020, a federal appellate court overruled the decision and stated, “a reasonable, experienced officer would not be justified in believing that entry into the apartment was necessary.” Kenneth Jr. stated, “The appeals court has confirmed what we knew all along: That they violated my father's 4th Amendment rights.”
At the end of The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain, the following facts followed the movie:
Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. accidentally triggered his medical alert pendant at 5:22 AM on November 19, 2011. By 7:00 AM he was dead. He was buried with military honors.
Several of the officers involved had previous complaints filed against them for excessive force, use of racial epithets, and other misconduct.
Mr. Chamberlain was recorded telling the police officers at least 60 times that he was ok, not to do it (open the door), and to leave him and his door alone.
The officers reported that lethal force was necessary because Kenneth was lunging at them with a knife. However, forensic evidence suggests that Kenneth was on the ground with the officers above him when he was killed.
No one was indicted or charged in connection to the death of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr.
Will Gunn is a Music Educator, and Master Chorale Tenor who lives in Plymouth, NH.
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