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