Four months after he was shot by a police officers in his White Plains, N.Y., apartment, the family of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. is calling for further inquiry into his death. The 68-year-old was gunned down by authorities, after allegedly trying to attack police with a hatchet and a knife.
Officers used the “self-defense” argument to warrant killing the former Marine, but Chamberlain’s family is crying foul. The White Plains district attorney announced that a grand jury will hear the details surrounding the incident, this week. The move will bring the family one step closer to further publicizing what they see as a wrongful death.
Chamberlain’s family insists that the senior citizen was startled by police banging on his door, which kicked-off the altercation. One officer is alleged to have asked to use the bathroom, and responded with a racial slur when his request was denied. “I don’t give a f–k, n—er, open the door!” he said.
Police eventually removed the door and entered the unit where they found Chamberlain sitting in his boxers. “The minute they got in the house, they didn’t even give him one command,” said the family’s lawyer. “They never mentioned ‘put your hands up.’ They never told him to lay down on the bed. The first thing they did … you could see the Taser light up … and you could see it going directly toward him.”
In lieu of the media spotlight that has been placed on Trayvon Martin’s killing, the New York Daily News mentioned the obvious comparisons to both shootings. “Like 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, Chamberlain was African-American, and his death has added fuel to the growing national debate that has flared since the Florida teen was killed on Feb. 26,” wrote Juan Gonzalez. Unlike Martin, Chamberlain’s case lacks the strong social media, and celebrity backing as the unarmed teen’s death, but that may change, given the country’s heightened sensitivity to racially driven issues.
Aside from the coverage given to the case by local newspaper The Daily White Plains, people have been taking to Facebook and Twitter to further spread the word, while a petition to have audio and video of the incident released, has received upwards of 170,000 signatures.
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Photo: NY Daily News