To: Janet DiFiore, District Attorney
Justice for Kenneth Chamberlain Sr.
This petition is regarding the upcoming Grand Jury hearing in the case of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., an unarmed elderly black citizen who was shot to death by the White Plains Police Department.
This case not only brings into question the policies and practices of this department; but it is an open question whether it was inevitable, particularly in light of the audio tapes and video tapes witnessed by Mr. Chamberlain’s family members and attorneys where racial slurs and expletives were used before ultimately shooting him twice in the chest and killing him.
It is imperative that those tapes be made available to the Grand Jury, and that all other evidence be presented as well. I am concerned that secrecy so far--for example, the names of officers involved have not been released--bodes badly for transparency in this case as it moves forward. Nor am I aware of any public statements about the case from elected officials calling for openness.
Members of Mr. Chamberlain’s family and community--and a much wider circle of people who need to know there is fairness in the criminal justice system--seek reassurance that, no matter what the verdict, the process has been open, honest, and just.
We, the undersigned, implore Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore to no longer allow police misconduct, brutality, or criminality to happen in this community and ask that these officers be indicted and charged with murder and civil rights violations.
Why is this important?
On November 19, 2011, at approximately 5 a.m., my father, 68-year-old Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., was at his home located at 135 S. Lexington Avenue in White Plains, New York.
He was a 20-year veteran of the Westchester County Department of Corrections, and he proudly served the United States of America as a Marine, receiving an honorable discharge. He stood about 5 feet, 9 inches tall, and he suffered from a heart condition.
His medical alert device sent an alert to his service provider, which placed a call to the City of White Plains Department of Public Safety. In response to the call, police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians went to my father’s home. Once at his house, the police knocked on my father’s door and were verbally greeted by him. He told them that he did not need assistance and that there was no medical emergency. He told them that he did not call them.
Despite being told that there was no need for their services, the police refused to leave and insisted that my father let them into his home.
My father had not committed any crime, and he declined to let them into his home. My father communicated with police at length, and his medical alert service provider advised the White Plains Police Department that they wanted to withdraw their request for medical assistance because there was no emergency. Despite this information, the police continued to insist that they gain an entry to my father’s apartment.
During the incident, the police banged on my father’s door over and over again, causing him to fear for his life. In fact, my father contacted his medical alert service provider while the police were banging on his door and asked them for help. He told them that the White Plains Police employees were outside his door and were going to kill him. The medical alert service provider recorded the communications between the police and my father. During the incident, the police were disrespectful to my father and threatened him as he stood in his apartment and told them that he just wanted to be left alone.
The police continued to bang on my father’s door for approximately an hour. During that time they taunted my father, cursed at him, and called him a "n****r." They ultimately broke through his apartment door and forced their way into his apartment, all without his consent. Upon entering his home, and without warning or prior verbal warnings or orders, police immediately used a Taser weapon against my father and attempted to shock him with the Taser’s electricity. My father was standing approximately six to eight feet away from the officers, and he was wearing nothing but boxer shorts when the police began their assault against him.
After using the Taser against my father, everything else is questionable except for the fact that two 40 caliber rounds were fired into my father which resulted in his death. In my opinion my father was murdered!
We are asking the Westchester County D.A. to bring a criminal indictment, and we call on the United States Department of Justice or the New York State Attorney General to prosecute this as a hate crime, since it appears that his killing was motivated by hate.