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