Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. was fatally shot on November 19, 2011, in White Plains, New York. Mr. Chamberlain wore the medical alert bracelet due to a chronic heart problem. After his LifeAid medical alert necklace was inadvertently triggered, White Plains Police came to his home and demanded that he open his front door, despite his objections and statements that he did not need help. The police called him Nigger, broke down Mr. Chamberlain’s door, tasered him, and then shot him dead in was suppose to be a call for medical assistance, not a criminal matter.
Mr. Chamberlain was a 68-year-old, Black Man, who was a father, retired Marine and a 20-year veteran of the Westchester County Department of Corrections, was a victim of a governmental sponsored Lynching by racist white White Plains Police Officers and one scared black cop who stood by and allowed this ungodly act to happen.
The LifeAid recorder, recorded the full encounter between Mr. Chamberlain and the White Plains Police Officers. What is heard on the recording, from a law enforcement professional perspective, was unprofessional and criminal. The gang-like mentality of this band of officers had no regard for any training or departmental policy and lacked the capacity to see Mr. Chamberlain as a human being.
Why do I say that? As a representative of a national law enforcement organization, the actions of these police officers are no less than a gang in blue. This gang in blue repeatedly called this retired Correction Officer and Military Veteran a Nigger.
In a telephone conversation recorded by the medical alert company, taped the entire encounter from the time the police arrived at his home, officers are heard banging on Chamberlain’s window.
“Do not do that. I’m telling you all; I’m telling you all I’m OK,” Chamberlain is heard firmly saying in response to the pounding on the door. A voice of the WPPD then responds to Chamberlain: “I don’t give a fuck, nigger.”
Former Democrat District Attorney, Janet DiFore said the racial slur was used to “distract” Chamberlain but added: “The use of [racial epithets] by anyone, let alone a public servant who is sworn to uphold the public good, is intolerable.”
But the District Attorney took no action holding the officers accountable for the racial slur and provided no proof that a racial slur has ever been in any law enforcement manual or training to distract a black person. In essence, the District Attorney devalued Mr. Chamberlain’s life and made a legal excuse for the use of the word nigger by police officers.
The shooting of Mr. Chamberlain was a clear overreaction of the White Plains Police Department. The officers using the word Nigger and killing Mr. Chamberlain, all should be charged with hate crimes by the Department of Justice
Since the early 1800s, the word nigger was firmly established as a derogative name. In the 21st century, it remains a primary term of White racism, regardless of who is using it.
The actions of these White Plains Police officers was reminiscent of White Southern Patrols when charged with lynching black men. Listening to what is said to Mr. Chamberlain by these Officers of the Law on the recording gives you a first-row seat to a Summary Execution of a person who has not been accused of a crime, without a full and fair trial. You see how police called for medical assistance do not see Mr. Chamberlain as a veteran or former correction officer but another Nigger to be dealt with.
Five years later the family of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. is still seeking justice but finding that even in the halls of federal court, the value of a black life doesn’t matter. The Chamberlain family has looked to the Justice System to no avail when Judge Cathy Siebel has chosen to dismiss any responsibility for the racial actions of the officers as a response team in calling Mr. Chamberlain a racial slur. Mr. Anthony Carelli was a part of that group.
Should Carelli be questioned on the use of the word? Absolutely! White Plains Police disciplined one officer for the use of the word. The officers were recorded saying nigger several times. Judge Siebel had no proof that Carelli didn’t say it.
Nigger is one of the most infamous words in American culture. Some words carry more weight than others. But without trying to exaggerate, Nigger has a history of genocide, murder, and terror to black people and their history in America.
By dismissing the use of racial slurs to be admitted in evidence, Judge Cathy Siebel denies the lack of human compassion for Mr. Chamberlain by White Plains Police and in the institution of Law Enforcement for Black Men in particular. The racial bias that apparently exists without any acknowledgment accountability.
Blacks in Westchester have been fooled twice by two White Women in the position of “Legal Authority” and has used the law to devalue black life and give an excuse for racist actions of governmental representatives.
As a national organization of Black Law Enforcement Professionals, we will continue to be outraged and proactive in holding racist police no matter what color, accountable to the community we proudly serve.
Damon K. Jones
Damon K. Jones is an Activist, Author, and Publisher of Black Westchester Magazine, a Black-owned and operated newspaper based in Westchester County, New York.
Mr. Jones is a Spiritual Life Coach, Couples and Family Therapy Coach, Holistic Health Practitioner, First Aid in Mental Health Practioner, Diet and Nutrition Advisor, and Vegan, Vegetarian Nutrition Life Coach.
Mr. Jones is a 32-year Law Enforcement Practioner New York Representative of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America.
Mr. Jones has been a guest commentator on New York radio stations WBLS (107.5 FM), WLIB (1190 am), WRKS (98.7 FM), WBAI (99.5 FM), and Westchester's WVOX (1460 am). Mr. Jones has appeared on local television broadcasts, including Westchester News 12 "News Makers" and Public Television "Winbrook Pride. You can now hear Damon every Wednesday at 830 AM on WFAS at 1230 AM, Morning with Bob Marone Show.