…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….
…Kenneth Chamberlain can be heard on an audio recording of his call to the medical alert system operator saying, quote, “Please leave me alone. I’m 68 with a heart condition. Why are you doing this to me? Can you please leave me alone?” Officers allegedly responded by calling Chamberlain a racial slur while urging him to open the door….
…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—…
…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….
…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….
…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?…
…”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.”…
…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….
…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….
…the initial news coverage around the killing of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr. The headline on the News 12 website read, quote, “Officer fatally shoots hatchet-wielding man.” TheDailyWhitePlains.com website posted an article titled “Police Fatally Shoot Disturbed Man Carrying Knife.” The story begins, quote, “White Plains police say an officer discharged two rounds, fatally shooting an emotionally disturbed White Plains man who attempted to bar officers from entering his apartment with a hatchet and then turned towards police with a butcher’s knife.”…
…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….
…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….