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Cop in Fatal Shooting of Ex-Marine Kenneth Chamberlain Was Sued in 2008 Racism Case

The alleged shooter, Officer Anthony Carelli, is due in court later this month on an unrelated 2008 police brutality case.
 
 
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The following is a transcript of a Democracy Now! program revealing the identity and violent history of the officer who allegedly killed an African-American retired Marine. 

In a broadcast exclusive, Democracy Now! reveals the name of the police officer who allegedly killed 68-year-old Kenneth Chamberlain, the retired African-American Marine who was shot dead in his own home in White Plains, New York, in November after he inadvertently triggered his medical alert pendant. Documented in audio recordings, the White Plains police reportedly used a racial slur, burst through Chamberlain’s door, tasered him, then shot him dead. "The last time I actually really saw my father, other than the funeral, was at the hospital, with his eyes wide open, his tongue hanging out his mouth, and two bullet holes in his chest," said Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr. "And I’m staring at my father, wondering, 'What happened?'"

The alleged shooter, Officer Anthony Carelli, is due in court later this month in an unrelated 2008 police brutality case. He is accused of being the most brutal of a group of officers who allegedly beat two arrestees of Jordanian descent and called them "rag heads." We speak to Gus Dimopoulos, attorney for Jerry and Sal Hatter. "We allege that the police officers, while in the custody of the White Plains Police Department back at the station, you know, severely beat Jerry while being restrained by handcuffs. They hit him in the face with a nightstick, they kicked, they punched, they punched him, and then essentially charged him with a crime," Dimopoulos said.

Despite repeated requests from Chamberlain’s family for the name of the officer who killed him, White Plains Public Safety Commissioner David Chong only named Carelli as the shooter this morning, after his name appeared in an article written by Democracy Now!'s Juan Gonzalez in the New York Daily News. The White Plains police have refused to say whether Carelli has been disciplined or assigned to desk duty after the fatal shooting of Chamberlain. We get an update on the Chamberlain case from the victim's son, Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr., and his two attorneys, Mayo Bartlett and Abdulwali Muhammad. We also speak with Gus Dimopoulos, a lawyer for the 2008 victims, Jereis Hatter and Salameh Hatter. 

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Juan, following up on last week’s Democracy Now!national broadcast exclusive, Thursday you had a major revelation in your paper, the New York Daily News, about the shooting death of 68-year-old former Marine Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., in White Plains, New York.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, that’s right, Amy. It’s been a tightly kept secret, the identity of the White Plains officer who fatally shot Mr. Chamberlain. His name is Officer Anthony Carelli. In a shocking twist, the News has also learned that Carelli is due in court later this month in a federal police brutality case. Jereis Hatter and Salameh Hatter claim Carelli was the most brutal of the officers who beat and kicked them while they were handcuffed during a disorderly conduct arrest in 2008, calling them, quote, "rag heads." Their parents are Jordanian immigrants. The brothers say Carelli beat Jereis Hatter with a police baton, causing head and eye injuries, while he was handcuffed to a poll in the police station. All charges against the brothers were later dismissed. They have now sued, alleging excessive force and federal civil rights violations.

Meanwhile, the mayor of White Plains has finally offered his condolences to the family of Kenneth Chamberlain, the 68-year-old veteran fatally shot by police in his own home. Chamberlain, an African-American former Marine, was killed after police responded to a false alert from his medical pendant.

AMY GOODMAN: The officers broke down Chamberlain’s door. They tasered him, then shot him dead. That was on November 19th, 2011. On Friday, more than four months later and after the Democracy Now! broadcast, White Plains Mayor Tom Roach issued a statement offering "condolences" to Chamberlain’s family. The move came one day after Chamberlain’s son, Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr., publicly criticized Roach and other city officials for staying silent about the case for so long. Chamberlain’s killing is expected to go before a grand jury in the coming weeks.

In a letter to the Common Council of White Plains dated March 27th, Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr., wrote, quote, "Although the District Attorney’s office has stated that there will be a fair, honest and complete investigation surrounding the events that took place on the morning of the 19th [of November], it is extremely difficult for my family and I to put trust in a system that we feel has failed us already."

Well, Democracy Now! reached out to multiple officials in White Plains, including all six members of the Common Council and the Office of Mayor Thomas Roach, but we did not receive a response to our interview requests. We also contacted the offices of White Plains Public Safety Commissioner David Chong and Police Chief James Bradley, as well as Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore. None returned our calls.

For more today, we are joined by Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr., again, the son of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., the victim, and by two of the family’s attorneys. Mayo Bartlett 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. We’re also joined by another of the family’s attorneys, Abdulwali Muhammad.

We welcome you all to Democracy Now! For people who did not hear the broadcast last week, Ken, can you summarize what happened to your father and then respond to what you have now heard in Juan Gonzalez’s exposé of who the police officer was who shot your father dead?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: Well, a quick summary. My father accidentally triggered his life alert pendant one morning. The police, White Plains police, responded to the home, supposedly to do a medical check to see if he was OK. He told them he was fine, yet they insisted that he open the door. When my father said that he knows his rights and he doesn’t have to open the door, they began to bang on the door for over an hour, ultimately breaking the door down and shooting him and killing him.

AMY GOODMAN: And just to be clear, LifeAid, the medical alert company, when they heard the alarm that goes off from his pendant—maybe he rolled over in bed—around 5:00 in the morning, they were the ones who called the police.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: Correct. There’s a two-way box that sits in the house, and once it’s triggered, someone from their central station will come over the box and ask and say, "Mr. Chamberlain, are you OK? You triggered your alarm." If they don’t get a response, they are going to assume that there is a medical emergency and then automatically call for medical assistance. And that’s what happened.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, police have insisted that the use of force was warranted, and they said that your father, Kenneth Chamberlain, was emotionally disturbed and had pulled a knife out on the officers. This is David Chong, public safety commissioner in White Plains, back then.

DAVID CHONG: The officers first used an electronic taser, which was discharged, hit the victim, and had no effect. While the officers were retreating, the officers then used a shotgun, a beanbag shotgun.

JUAN GONZALEZ: That was public safety commissioner of White Plains, David Chong, talking about what had happened. And in the Daily News, we did interview some of residents who said that police had been there before because of—apparently, your father at different times had been yelling out previously, so the police claim that they had had a previous history of going to this house. Now that, of course, doesn’t mean that that excuses any way the actions they took. In fact, if they did feel that he had some kind of emotional problems, that that would have required them to take—to use extra care in how they were able to deal with him.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: Mm-hmm. Well, they did say in the beginning, as they were putting their spin on it, that "he is known to us," but they would never say how my father was known. So, that could mean anything. You could see someone in the streets several times and be—and now they are known to you. But it never was specific on how they actually knew my father. So, and again, as you just said, because he’s known, that isn’t a justification for them to bust his door down and then, allegedly, well, taser him, which we did see on the audio—I mean, on the video, excuse me.

AMY GOODMAN: Because there’s a video on the taser gun.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: Yes. So we did see that. But anything after that, we didn’t see.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, this is very interesting. Mayo Bartlett, as we spoke yesterday, you talked about—so there’s two records of this. There’s the audio recording, because of the box in your father’s apartment.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: Correct.

AMY GOODMAN: LifeAid records everything in the room once they’re alerted by a medical pendant, and they call the police, because he’s not responding, and they say, "This is not a criminal case; this is a medical emergency. Please get over there." Mayo Bartlett, you talked about the taser video. What did—were you able to see in the video once they took the doors off the hinges? And explain even how that happened.

MAYO BARTLETT: Well, the police arrived. They immediately—first, they properly asked him, Mr. Chamberlain, whether he was all right. He said, "I’m fine." And at that point, he seemed to be very rational and calm. And they asked him to open the door. He said, "I don’t want to open the door. I didn’t call you. But I’m fine. Everything’s OK." And the police refused to leave at that point. They began banging on the door. And it’s a steel door, so you can hear a very loud sound. The first time we heard the banging, it startles you. It almost makes you wonder whether shots are being fired at that point. And this is at 5:00 in the morning, and it’s a 68-year-old man, who didn’t call them and wasn’t expecting them to be there, because this—

AMY GOODMAN: But who has a heart condition.

MAYO BARTLETT: And who has a heart condition. And at that point, the taser video actually shows them outside. They use a device to actually pry that door off of its hinges. First they break a lock, and the doors open what appears to be five or six inches, so it’s cracked open. And by the time they finally are able to take that door off its hinges, after about an hour of continuous effort to do so, the door is taken off.

You see, through the—basically, the vantage point of the taser, Mr. Chamberlain with no shirt on, with boxer shorts on, with both arms at his side, standing straight up. He doesn’t say anything. He is not advancing toward the officers. And the officers don’t say anything to him. They don’t give him an opportunity to do anything. They don’t tell him or ask him to put his hands up on the wall or to put his hands behind his head. They don’t ask him to do anything. They immediately charge that taser, and you can see it light up, and then they discharge it in his direction. And that has to be outside of the use of protocol or the protocol for the use of force, which generally is a use of force escalation.

AMY GOODMAN: But then you hear something in—

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, but not only that, but there’s the issue of why—if you know that you’re going to see someone who has a heart condition, why would you fire a taser at them?

MAYO BARTLETT: I would definitely wonder why you would do that. I would think that there’s certainly less deadly uses of force. But I think, at that point, when he’s standing there with his arms at his side and the boxer shorts and no shirt on, 68-year-old man, there’s no need for use of force at all.

AMY GOODMAN: Then talk about what you hear on the taser video.

MAYO BARTLETT: Well, on that taser—well, you can see on the video, you see them, and you see Mr. Chamberlain standing what appears to be possibly eight, maybe even 10, feet away from them. And you can hear them—someone says, "Cut it. Cut it off." And at that point, we believe that that means that they’re aware that they are recording their actions. And at that point, the video and audio feed from the taser end.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, they think they’re cutting off the recording of their actions, but in fact LifeAid has that box in there, and they are recording absolutely everything that is going on.

MAYO BARTLETT: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: This goes to the issue of what you hear next. And Ken Chamberlain, Jr., again, if you could recount this—and this goes on before and after, when they’re pulling—this is even before they’ve taken the door off its hinges—what your father is saying to them?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: You hear a number of things that my father is saying in the audio. One of the things you hear is he’s telling the officers, repeatedly, "I’m OK. I didn’t call you. Why are you doing this to me? Please leave me alone." The officers are telling him pretty much no, that they want to get inside. He’s saying, "I’m a 68-year-old man with a heart condition. I know what you’re going to do. You’re going to come in here, and you’re going to kill me." You hear at one point one of the officers say, "Why would you think that? We’re not going to do that." But he said, "Yes, you are. You have your guns out. Why do you have your guns out? Oh, you have a shield." Now, I’m thinking to myself—

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean, the shield?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: A ballistic shield.

AMY GOODMAN: A full-body ballistic shield.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: A full-body shield, yes. So, you hear that. And I’ll even go so far as to say that you even hear on there my father is referring to a black police officer that’s there, too, and he says, "Black officer, why are you letting them do this to me?" So these are some of the things that you hear in the audio. And again, you hear him give his sworn testimony on the audio.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: He says, "My name is Kenneth Chamberlain, and this is my sworn testimony. White Plains police officers are going to come in here and kill me."

JUAN GONZALEZ: Now—and, of course, we discussed, as well, that the use of a racial epithet at the time also is caught on tape.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: Yes, yes. When he asked them why are they doing this, "Please don’t do this to me. Why are you doing this?" one of the officers say, "I don’t give a F," and then use the N-word and says, "Open the door." So, I was very clear in the beginning, when all of this happened, that I wasn’t trying to turn this into any type of racially motivated killing, until we heard the audio. Then, and only then, did I bring that up and say, OK, because, I mean, any logical mind, if you hear that, and then you say, well, what was the outcome? He was shot twice.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, interestingly, you know, as I yesterday was working on this story trying to get as much information as I could, the law enforcement people, as we have discussed, have been totally tight-lipped. But there was an acknowledgment by some of them that those—that statement was a problem that they saw early on, but that they are now saying that they believe that, yes, that was uttered, and—but it was not uttered by any of the officers who directly went into the—someone else in the employ of the White Plains Police Department said that outside, but was not part of the group that went in. Now, obviously, that’s what they’re claiming. We don’t know what the facts will show eventually. But it was clear that they had to know immediately, once they—and they did hear that tape early on—that they had a problem here with the officers that were going in there that they were going to have to deal with.

AMY GOODMAN: They knew that was a problem, but, Mayo Bartlett, when you saw the transcript of what was said on this LifeAid recording, did you see this racial epithet?

MAYO BARTLETT: What’s troubling is, no, when we saw the transcripts of the recording, that racial epithet was not there. And it’s additionally troubling to me that White Plains members of law enforcement are aware that they have an officer who uses this type of language with respect to the citizens of White Plains. And if you were to be employed in any other capacity, whether it was in the entertainment field or anywhere else, and you use a remark like that, and you use disparaging comments like that, you’d lose your job. You are not out there still working with individuals. And if you’re in the entertainment industry, people don’t rely on you for their safety. We’re talking about individuals who are employed by the public, that the public relies on to provide safety and to assist them in their time of need. And if that person has that type of bias in his or her heart, that individual has no place working for the city of White Plains.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s turn to the latest revelation—we’re going to break for a moment, and then the piece that is in Thursday’s New York Daily News, Juan Gonzalez, the lead writer, exposing exactly who this police officer is who shot your father, Kenneth Chamberlain, dead. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. We continue with this conversation, "Black in White Plains: The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr.," in a moment.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: Juan, your exposé in Thursday’s New York Daily News, I am going to hold it up. It’s not the baseball picture at the top; it’s what’s underneath. And it says, "Named! Exclusive: NEWS IDs cop who shot retired Marine."

JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes. Well, you know, I—as a longtime reporter, I know that in a small town word gets out, especially in a situation like this, of who was involved, and it was only a matter of being able to find out, even though officials have said nothing about who was involved, which is very rare in a case like this this that the officers are not named. And we started hearing the name of a particular officer, but it took until late yesterday, almost until the evening, 'til we were actually able to get confirmation that the officer who was directly involved in the shooting was an officer by the name of Anthony Carelli, who joined the White Plains police force in 2004 at the age of 21, and who, amazingly, is about to go into a trial, a federal civil rights trial, by two brothers who were arrested by Carelli and a group of officers back in 2008 on Memorial Day weekend in downtown White Plains in a strip where there's a lot of bars and restaurants and large crowds tend to gather on weekends, and the two brothers were arrested for disorderly conduct, a charge that was later dropped.

But it turns out that they are alleging in their lawsuit, a $10 million lawsuit against the police department of White Plains, that Carelli was the lead officer who brought them into the precinct and cuffed them to a long bar in the booking room and then beat one of the brothers, Jereis Hatter, and repeatedly beat him. And interestingly, in a deposition that we got a hold of in the case, Carelli claimed that—because he had to explain some of the injuries that Hatter clearly had—that on the way to the precinct, in the police car, Hatter repeatedly was banging his head, from the back seat of the patrol car, was banging his head against the plastic partition in the police vehicle. And so, when questioned, "Well, what did you do?" Carelli said, "Well, I told him to stop. But he wouldn’t listen, and he kept banging his head over and over again against the plastic shield in the police car." And because, obviously, the young man went into the precinct with no injuries and came out—and we have a picture of him in the newspaper with a battered face. And so, they are now suing, claiming civil rights violations and excessive force by the police department.

AMY GOODMAN: And then, the yelling of the racial epithet.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes, and that he—and that while they were being beaten, Carelli was calling them "rag heads" inside the precinct. And one brother says that—we were able to reach him late at night. He said that Carelli should not be on the force, that he beat him in the head, he kicked him in the groin. And he just wants justice.

AMY GOODMAN: And this is while he was handcuffed to a pole in the police station.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes, yes.

AMY GOODMAN: Wouldn’t they have video of what happened inside a police station?

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, interestingly, the police department says they have no surveillance—they had no video inside. This is the police headquarters; we’re not talking about a small precinct. This is the police headquarters. They have—there is no video of anything that happened, according to the police department.

AMY GOODMAN: And interestingly, as you report in the New York Daily News, a man who said he was Carelli’s brother answered the door at Carelli’s house in Harrison, Westchester County, and told the New York Daily News, "So I assume his name leaked out today. Lovely."

JUAN GONZALEZ: Right. And subsequent to that, the Harrison police arrived at the house and ordered our Daily News reporters away from the house and are now stationed outside the policeman’s house to, I guess, shield, protect him from the cameras.

AMY GOODMAN: In a 2010 deposition, you report, Carelli said he made about 250 to 300 arrests as a police officer.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes, he was part, at that time, in 2008, of apparently a street unit in the White Plains Police Department that specializes in the local downtown bars and, interestingly, in the public housing projects. And his partner, Julio Orellana, in his deposition says that "We were doing all these quality-of-life arrests in places like downtown and in the projects," specifically naming Winbrook, the public housing development that your father lived in, Kenneth.

AMY GOODMAN: Your reaction to hearing this?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: Well, I’m glad that the name is out, and I definitely want to thank you, Mr. Gonzalez, for researching that and getting that out there so the public knows who this person is, because, as you just stated, my father’s incident is not the first incident. So, it’s almost like a snowball effect. He was beating people, and now he ultimately killed someone. So when I hear that, it just goes back to the visual of the last time I actually really saw my father, other than the funeral, was at the hospital, with his eyes wide open, his tongue hanging out his mouth, and two bullet holes in his chest. And I’m staring at my father, wondering, "What happened? How did this happen?"

And I’ve often heard in White Plains that there was a unit that would go around in White Plains, and people used to say, "If you’re hanging out on the weekends in White Plains, be careful." And I asked them, "Why?" They said, "There is a unit out here that will get you, and that they will—they’ll beat you up." And I said, "Really?" And they said, "Yes." And then, for you to reveal this information, it just brings me back to that conversation that I had with someone in the street.

AMY GOODMAN: We are joined right now by the lawyer for the two brothers who have sued the police officer, Anthony Carelli, and other police officers for their beating, their beating and arrest in 2008. His name is Gus Dimopoulos. He’s quoted in Juan’s piece in the New York Daily News.

Mr. Dimopoulos, welcome to Democracy Now! Explain the case that your clients have against this police officer, who has now been named as the shooter of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr.

GUS DIMOPOULOS: Good morning, everyone.

My clients were celebrating a birthday party of one of their friends at the Black Bear Saloon in 2008. When they basically exited the Black Bear Saloon after they had, you know, been celebrating the birthday, they were confronted by various members of the police department. And essentially, they alleged that my clients were being disorderly and causing a ruckus on the street and screaming and fighting. Ultimately, both brothers, Jerry and Sal, were arrested on the street in White Plains and taken into police custody. They were charged with disorderly conduct. They essentially allege that while they were on the street, they were causing such a scene, screaming, yelling, resisting arrest, and doing all sorts of other things. They—we allege that the police officers, while in the custody of the White Plains Police Department back at the station, you know, severely beat Jerry while being restrained by handcuffs. They hit him in the face with a nightstick, they kicked, they punched him, and then essentially charged him with a crime. And then, ultimately, when it went to trial, they were unable to prove their case. You know, the judge in the criminal case dismissed the charges for disorderly conduct, basically said the cops’ story didn’t make any sense, and the charges were dismissed.

Ultimately, in the case we have pending for excessive force, they’ve made similar denials: nobody hit him. Nobody can explain how he got all the bruises and the black eyes. The only story that that was able to get—that we’re able to glean from the litigation is that from Carelli himself, who basically spent the most time with Jerry when he was arrested, and he tried to allege that he was self-inflicting his wounds by hitting his face against the police divider between the front and back of the car. You know, no other police officer corroborated Carelli’s testimony on this front.

And also, some of the bouncers from the bar—you know, Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains is a busy place, especially on a weekend night. And they called a bunch of witnesses to give deposition testimony about the event, and all of them said that he really wasn’t acting the way that the police alleged that he was acting. He was—you know, he was perfectly cooperative when he was arrested. He didn’t try to get out of the custody. He didn’t do anything.

So, you know, our allegations in the complaint is they just—they essentially profiled him. You know, he is of Arab-American descent. They arrested him and then, you know, beat him down in the police office when he was defenseless and in their custody. So, you know, we’re basically making our claims under civil rights law that, you know, Jerry’s injuries, both physical and emotional, are reprehensible. And, you know, it’s a horrible event. It’s a horrible event.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And you also allege that Carelli made anti-Arab remarks while they were in custody.

GUS DIMOPOULOS: Jerry had—did testify that he did make several anti-Arab racial slurs towards Jerry and his brother, absolutely.

AMY GOODMAN: What did he call them?

GUS DIMOPOULOS: I don’t have the deposition testimony in front of me, but I know that, from memory, that he was called a—I’m trying to remember the exact word, but—

AMY GOODMAN: You have it from the deposition.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Yeah, I think it was "rag head."

GUS DIMOPOULOS: "Rag head." That — "rag head," and I think there were others in the deposition testimony. Without it in front of me, I’m not confident—but I do remember him saying, absolutely, they called him a "rag head."

AMY GOODMAN: Mr. Dimopoulos, when you heard the story of Kenneth Chamberlain and then the fact that Anthony Carelli, the police officer who you charge in this case of having hurled the racial epithet, beat your client, that he is the shooter in the Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., case, your response?

GUS DIMOPOULOS: Well, first of all, obviously, to the Chamberlain family and obviously his son, as well, you know, it’s a horrible event, and I’m sorry that they have to go through that. You know, I heard Mr. Chamberlain’s son saying before the reputation of the White Plains Police Department, and I’ve heard the same thing. It’s a very charged police force. They’re—you know, being in the line of work that I am, obviously, I hear a lot about it. I’ve been consulted on, you know, dozens of excessive force cases. Not all of them are clear. Some of them are not. But it seems to me that the Chamberlain case—I’ve been following it somewhat—you know, it’s a horrible, horrible tragedy. We did our own investigation to see if we could determine whether or not various police officers that we named in our complaint were involved. Of course, from the beginning, you know, as the [inaudible] say, it’s a very hush-hush case. No one is willing to talk to anybody. Nobody’s willing to give any information. But, you know, I was unable to confirm any involvement, but obviously [inaudible] investigation. But it’s a horrible event. If those facts are true, it’s a shame and a tragedy. And really, my heart goes out to the family.

JUAN GONZALEZ: I’d like ask Abdulwali Muhammad, another one of the lawyers of the family, your reaction when you hear about this and about this officer now? Because the trial in this other case is going to begin on April 23rd in federal court in White Plains.

ABDULWALI MUHAMMAD: The same story that was spun regarding this incident with these two gentlemen who were abused by the police smacks—or, is similar to the one that was given by the commissioner, police commissioner, regarding Mr. Chamberlain’s father, that he was a hatchet-wielding mentally disturbed person, and that, of course, would have justified police action against him. And that story didn’t say anything about the fact that he was in his home or that the medical alert had gone off. And but for the fact that we have the tapes, we would not be able to present the story that we’ve had to the public and make our demands that the tapes be released, that the officer’s name be released, as well.

AMY GOODMAN: You know, you come from a very illustrious family, the son-in-law of Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis—

ABDULWALI MUHAMMAD: You busted me.

AMY GOODMAN: —who are famous actors, of course, but also civil rights leaders in the community, Ossie Davis was, Ruby Dee is. You live in the White Plains area in Westchester County. Does this surprise you that this took place, Abdulwali Muhammad?

ABDULWALI MUHAMMAD: Well, as Malcolm X so appropriately said, as long as you’re south of the Canadian border, you’re South. That’s how I look at all of these incidents. Whether or not it happens in Florida or it happens California, like you mentioned earlier in the show with the news about the sentencing of the police officers in New Orleans, you know, this is racism, it’s classism. I doubt that this type of behavior would have taken place with the police department if it was in Scarsdale or some other wealthy community. They wouldn’t have busted down the door. If the owners of the home told the police to go away, they would have wagged their tails and gone away.

AMY GOODMAN: This is four months ago that this took place. April 10th, the Trayvon Martin grand jury is expected to begin hearing testimony. April 11th now—after you left Democracy Now! last Thursday, you went over to the DA’s o

Amy Goodman is the host, and Juan Gonzalez is the co-host, of the nationally syndicated radio news program, Democracy Now!.
 
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