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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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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.

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