Kenneth Chamberlain Jr. praised Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman for helping to garner support for justice in the shooting death of his father, Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., by White Plains Police.
“One of the most influential people in getting my case out there was Amy Goodman,” said Chamberlain Jr.—in a video posted on Liberation News’ website, the newspaper of the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
Chamberlain Jr. said that within an hour of appearing on Democracy Now! signatures on a petition on SignOn.org calling for retribution in his father’s case rose from 1,000 to 75,000. The petition currently has 209,482 signatures toward its 225,000 goal.
City police fired a , two beanbag rounds and then a fatal gunshot at Chamberlain Sr. in his apartment on Nov. 19, while they were responding to the 68-year-old heart patient’s accidental triggering of his medical alert device.
The Chamberlain family said that police should have respected Chamberlain Sr.’s rights and wishes to leave him alone after he canceled the medical alert, and told police that he was fine.
According to Chamberlain Jr., police responded to his father’s pleas with “I don’t give a f--k nigger open the door.” Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore confirmed that White Plains Police used a racial slur against Chamberlain Sr. during the incident. , including Officer Anthony Carelli who delivered the fatal shot to Chamberlain Sr., are involved in separate police brutality cases that touch on race.
Police—who knew Chamberlain Sr. was mentally disturbed, had visited Chamberlain’s apartment before and were aware of his criminal record—said they had to enter Chamberlain Sr.’s apartment to make sure he was OK. Police believed another person could have been in the apartment at the time, as Chamberlain—who was —kept speaking to other people, including President Barack Obama. . since he was attacking police with knives as they tried to enter his apartment.
Click here for all of White Plains Patch’s coverage of the incident.
Though Chamberlain Jr. found it difficult to spend his first Father’s Day without his dad, he said—at the June 15 Father’s Day vigil for Ramarley Graham in the Bronx—that he couldn’t imagine what it was like for Graham’s parents to have their child taken away, especially since his own 16-year-old daughter lives a block from where New York City Police shot and killed Graham in February.
Police followed the unarmed 18-year-old, who was suspected in drug activity, into his grandmother’s Bronx apartment and shot him while he attempted to flush a bag of marijuana down the toilet, according to The Huffington Post. Police—who said thought they saw the butt of a gun in Graham’s waistband—did not have a warrant to enter or search the apartment.
The New York Times reports that Officer Richard Haste, who has plead not guilty to first and second degree manslaughter charges in the case, said he had “no choice” but to shoot Graham since he thought Graham was going to him kill.
The Huffington Post said that many are linking the NYPD’s aggressive behavior to its “stop-and-frisk” program that targets low-income minority neighborhoods—which has resulted in searches of more than 500,000 New Yorkers, 85 percent of them black or Latino, and a record number of misdemeanor marijuana arrests in 2011. Thousands protested the “stop-and-frisk” tactics at a New York City march on Sunday, according to CBS News.
“I’m standing here with the Graham family right now, because I know that police misconduct, brutality and criminality is definitely what we would consider a pandemic, a disease,” said Chamberlain, in the video. “It’s not just in the Bronx, it’s not just in Brooklyn, it’s not just in White Plains—it’s happening all over the place.”
Though the in the Nov. 19 shooting, Chamberlain Jr. said he is more optimistic now that the case is in federal hands.
“The is investigating it for civil and criminal violations at this time,” said Chamberlain Jr. “We’re more hopeful that since the feds have it, that something is going to happen, because there has to be federal oversight. State oversight just doesn’t work.”
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