Read time: 2 minutes

Responding To A Medical Alert, NY Police Shoot 68-Year-Old Black Marine Veteran Dead

Responding to a Medical Alert, NY Police Shoot 68-Year-Old Black Marine Veteran Dead.

Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., a 68-year-old African-American, Marine veteran with a heart condition as well as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) accidentally triggered his medical alert system while sleeping one night last November. When he didn't respond to the system operator who tried to find out if Mr. Chamberlain was alright, the police in White Plains, New York were then alerted to a possible medical emergency. The operator explained that there was no criminal situation.

Police arrive at Chamberlain's apartment in a public housing complex around 5 a.m. on November 19th. They removed his front door from the hinges to gain entry. They shot Mr. Chamberlain with a taser, and then with a beanbag shotgun, and finally with live ammunition they killed him after two shots to the chest.

Amy Goodman:

Relatives of Kenneth Chamberlain have questioned the police portrayal of events that led to his death, and they say audio and video recorded at the scene back up their case. According to the family, Kenneth Chamberlain can be heard on an audio recording of his call to the medical alert system operator saying, quote, "Please leave me alone. I’m 68 with a heart condition. Why are you doing this to me? Can you please leave me alone?" Officers allegedly responded by calling Chamberlain a racial slur while urging him to open the door. The audio recording of the incident has not been made public and remains in the possession of the Westchester District Attorney’s office.

In early December, Kenneth Chamberlain, a retired marine, was buried with military honors. The family posted video of part of the ceremony.

Several months after his death, the name of the officer who killed Kenneth Chamberlain has yet to be released. The DA has vowed to convene a grand jury to determine if any of the officers should face charges.

We invited the White Plains Police Department and the Westchester DA’s office on to the program, but they declined to join us or issue a comment. But we are joined by Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr., the son of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., the victim, and by two of the family’s attorneys. Mayo Bartlett is the former chief of the Bias Crimes Unit of the Westchester County District Attorney’s office and the former chair of the Westchester County Human Rights Commission. Randolph McLaughlin is a longtime civil rights attorney. He teaches at Pace Law School.

A rush transcript from the video is available here at Democracy Now!

Can you help us out?

For 16 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit. We work 7 days a week, 16 hours a day for our labor of love, but with rising hosting and associated costs, we need your help! Could you donate $20 for 2020? Please consider a one time or recurring donation of whatever amount you can spare, or consider subscribing for an ad-free experience. It will be greatly appreciated and help us continue our mission of exposing the real FAKE NEWS!

More C&L Coverage


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service (revised 3/17/2016) for information on our posting policy.