WHITE PLAINS — The NAACP will hold a town hall meeting, vigil and march Saturday on confronting police misconduct to mark the first anniversary of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr.’s shooting death during a standoff with police.
Chamberlain’s son, Kenneth Chamberlain Jr., will join the event, which begins at 10 a.m. at the Thomas H. Slater Center in White Plains.
“The wounds that were inflicted on the Chamberlain family are just as raw and open today as they were a year ago,” said Randolph McLaughlin, a lawyer for the Chamberlain family, “and the city has done nothing, nothing to calm the situation, to ameliorate the situation. Instead, they’ve rubbed salt into those wounds.”
The son will also appear at the Mount Vernon Public Library on Monday, the anniversary date, to answer audience questions after a 6:30 p.m. screening of the documentary, “Every Mother’s Son.”
Chamberlain, 68, was killed during a Nov. 19, 2011 standoff at his 135 S. Lexington Ave. apartment in White Plains after his medical alert device accidentally went off about 5:30 a.m.
Chamberlain, who had a chronic heart condition and had been drinking, said he was OK and did not need help, but police insisted that he open his door so they could check on his welfare. As police pressed Chamberlain to let them in, the former Marine and retired corrections officer, who also had a criminal record, became agitated, threatening to kill the first officer who entered his apartment. Police said he also tried to attack officers with a knife and hatchet when they pried the door open a crash.
Cops eventually removed the door from its hinges and shot Chamberlain with a stun gun and bean bags, which they said did not stop him. He was shot and killed by Officer Anthony Carelli when police said he lunged at another officer with a knife.
In May, a Westchester grand jury declined to file criminal charges against any of the eight officers involved in the Chamberlain case.
“From the outset, this case was thoroughly, completely and painstakingly investigated over a period of months and was then presented to a grand jury, which found that the actions of the officers were justified,” said Lucian Chalfen, spokesman for Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore.
The incident is still being reviewed by the U.S. Justice Department.
In July, the Chamberlain family filed a $21 million federal lawsuit, claiming among other things that cops taunted him and used racial slurs during the hourlong standoff, and shot and killed him after finally breaking down the door.
Lawyers for the family are filing an amended complaint this week, said McLaughlin of the Newman Ferrara law firm.
A city-commissioned analysis, completed by a team of criminologists in October, found that the "shooting of Mr. Chamberlain was totally justified and took place only after negotiations and all nonlethal means were unsuccessful and Mr. Chamberlain came at a police sergeant with a knife."
McLaughlin called the report a “one-sided whitewash” that glossed over the police actions and failed to include community input.
To view a copy of the complaint, and for more information, please use the following link: Chamberlain v. City of White Plains, et al.