Since the killing of my father Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. law enforcement has consistently tried to imply that my father posed an imminent threat to life and well-being and that after exhausting all non-lethal means they had no other choice but to use deadly physical force. We know that in May of 2012 the Westchester County District Attorney’s under the leadership of Janet Difiore came back with no true bill (no indictment) stating that “After due deliberation on the evidence presented in this matter, the grand jury found that there was no reasonable cause to vote an indictment and in addition the racial slur one officer flung at Chamberlain before another cop killed him was done as in an effort to “distract” him. DiFiore then contradicted herself by saying that “the use of (racial epithets) by anyone, let alone a public servant who is sworn to uphold the public good, is intolerable.” Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said that it will review “all of the available evidence” in the police shooting death of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., “to determine whether there were any violations of the federal criminal civil rights laws” four years later and still no decision.
My family and I have since then been permitted to move forward civilly and the great thing about that is it allows my attorneys to ask the questions that may or may not have been asked during the initial investigation and since my attorneys have begun depositions we have found out things that are very disturbing and not in line with what we the people of Westchester County expect from our law enforcement officers.
Now we know that on November 19, 2011 officers were responding to a possible medical emergency, not a crime in progress, we know that Mr. Chamberlain came to the door and said he was fine and did not call them. We know that he was under no obligation to open his door and was in fact protected under the Fourth Amendment which is the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures however when you are considered 3/5 of a person this law doesn’t apply to you and places no value on your life whatsoever. We know that Mr. Chamberlain was yelled at repeatedly, cursed at and military service mocked and even called a nigger all of which was captured on life aide audio and now through Federal Depositions we also know that on November 19, 2011 Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. was lying injured on the floor when White Plains Police Officer Anthony Carelli shot and killed him.
Was it reasonable to shoot Mr. Chamberlain was there and imminent threat to life at that time; if you are Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. then the answer is yes!!! Law enforcement officers posed a threat to life and well-being and reckless behavior a failure to adhere to policies and no real plan on how to deal with someone that they called emotionally disturbed resulted in the his death.
The fight to get justice has got to be the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I find myself having to defend myself for defending my father all because individuals acting under color of law decided to escalate a situation rather than diffuse it. Spiritually emotionally and intellectually some days the pain is stronger than others and you never know when it will hit you and most times it is in public and you are forced to actively remain composed especially because we know and understand that we are to never allow our emotions to supersede our intelligence.
I am asked do I hate the people who murdered my father and that I must hate law enforcement officers and to that I say I do not hate them, we should not hate the sinner, but hate the sin because we are God by nature but it is not our nature to be God meaning that we are all perfectly imperfect. I do however hate the system that these officers are permitted to operate under which places no value on Black or Brown life which is why reform is needed. The government, its officials, individuals and its agents should be held to the same rules that enable a fair and equally functioning society (I believe we call that the Rule of Law). I will be the first to admit that we all make mistakes but regardless of any challenges or poor judgments that have been made or faced in our lives we all deserve to be treated fairly and that includes being held accountable for any wrongdoings may have been committed.
My objective is to make sure that no one else has to feel what my family and many others have felt through this type of tragedy. Our lives have been put on hold and literally turned upside down. I myself have become so consumed that there is no such thing as normalcy anymore which has caused me to challenge not some but all of my beliefs, and what once seemed like a big deal and was of great importance is now trivial in comparison to what I am dealing with now.
So what is my point well its simple in order to hold law enforcement and our elected officials accountable we must hold ourselves accountable, we must stop destroying each other and begin to build with each other, take care of each other, aspire to inspire and realize that the ones that were lost to tragedy at the hands of the police or Black on Black crime could one day be you.
Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr.