Police fatally shoot man during medical alert

February 14, 2012 8:09:33 PM PST
When White Plains Police responded to a medical emergency this housing project early on a Saturday morning last November, a medical alert device in Kenneth Chamberlain's apartment was recording audio, while video was captured by a police taser gun.

The District Attorney recently allowed Chamberlain's son and his attorneys to see and hear it.

"You hear my father begging them not to bust down the door, begging them to please leave him alone," said Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr., son.

Police responded that morning because the 68-year-old former Marine's medical alert device sounded.

Police claim when they arrived Chamberlain was emotionally disturbed screaming in his apartment.

Police, wanting to see if he was alright, kept pressing him to open the door.

At one point, police claim, Chamberlain showed a knife through the door's crack which police grabbed.

"In the video I don't see my father attacking anyone, I see my father standing there with his hands down on his side and the camera cuts off," Chamberlain said.

But the audio was still recording.

"My father still says, 'No, please leave me alone. I'm 68 with heart condition, why are you doing this to me, can you please leave me alone?' At one point you hear them say, they use the N-word they say, 'I don't give an f*** n*****, open the door,'" Chamberlain said.

When Police forced the door open, it's reported, they used a taser gun and bean-bag gun to try to subdue him.

When that failed, police fired two shots which killed Chamberlain.

Police are insisting deadly force was warranted.

But, a former Westchester County prosecutor, now the Chamberlain family attorney, says he was shaken by what he saw and heard on the tapes.

"I could not sleep after that. And to me, it was absolutely mind boggling that a person given these circumstances, who at best called for medical assistance, at worst, triggered a medical alert system to go off, would be held almost essentially at bay in his apartment," said Mayo Bartlett, family attorney.

The law firm intends to file a wrongful death suit and strongly believes that the video and audio will show that Kenneth Chamberlain was a victim of a hate crime.

"You have audio for the entire time that the police are outside this man's home banging on his door taunting him, using racial slurs, threatening him," said Randolph McLaughlin, family attorney.

"He was afraid?" Eyewitness News Investigative Reporter Jim Hoffer asked.

"Yes, that he said on the audio, 'My name is Kenneth Chamberlain and this is my sworn testimony: White Plains police officers are going to come in here and kill me.' And you hear it very clear on the audio. And it puts a chill in me every time I think about it," Chamberlain said.

Eyewitness News has learned that this audio and video will be presented to a Grand Jury in the very near future.

It's important to note, Eyewitness News made repeated attempts to get the White Plains Police Chief and head of public safety to speak about the shooting.

Both declined saying, "no comment" because it's under investigation by the District Attorney.


If you have a tip about this or any other issue you'd like investigated, please give our tipline a call at 877-TIP-NEWS. You may also e-mail us at the.investigators@abc.com.

Follow Jim Hoffer on Twitter at twitter.com/nycinvestigates and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jimhoffer.wabc

Follow Sarah Wallace on Twitter at twitter.com/swinvestigates and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sarahwallace.wabc

Get Eyewitness News Delivered

Facebook | Twitter | Newsletters | Text Alerts