Update on killing of elderly black Marine veteran by police: no charges will be filed

No criminal charges will be filed in the fatal police shooting of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., a 68-year-old Marine vet. He was shot to death in his White Plains, NY apartment after his medical alert device accidentally went off and signalled police to his apartment. According to reports, audio recordings captured by that device showed that a responding officer used racial slurs in addressing the man.

Coverage around the web: CNN, Associated Press, CBS NYC, NY Daily News, The Journal News, NY Mag.

Anthony Carelli, the White Plains police officer who killed Chamberlain, has been accused in a separate racially-charged incident of police brutality.


  1. Sadly, this kind of thing will only be news when police DO get in trouble afterwards. Until then, business as usual.

    1. You see, there’s STILL judges around with the hick mentality of Kenesaw Mountain Landis.  Take Scalia or Alito, neither wise nor enlightened, just clever enough to do as other monkeys do and rise to a position of power.

      1. On the lower circuits, take the Texas judge who tormented his developmentally challenged daughter, because she downloaded files from the internet, against his “mentally fully developed adult and universally christian” fucking goddamned moralisms.

      2. Landis ran the trials of union organizers and anti-war activists, whom he described as ‘slimy rats,’ sentencing people to up to twenty years for ‘spoken and written opposition to war.’

        Taney was even worse though.

      3. One nit to pick: Scalia, yes, but Alito is damned smart.  As a result, he’s more dangerous in the long run.

    2. Well, there’s still the possibility of federal charges. And “getting in trouble” is not enough, prison is not enough, this needs to be a death penalty case for every officer on the scene and for the dispatch officer (who was advised that the officers on the scene had drawn weapons, that the victim and his family was in fear that he would be shot, and who dismissed those concerns and refused to aid family members in helping to mediate).

      USC 241:

      If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or

      If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured—

      They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title orimprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

      A much more complete account than that in the news stories linked in this article can be found at: http://www.democracynow.org/2012/4/5/exclusive_cop_in_fatal_shooting_of

  2. Apologies to all the good police officers out there, but the two kids from my school class who went on to become cops were also the two biggest bullies.

      1. No… It’s the other “good” 95% protecting the 5% that makes themselves look bad.

        Until they start standing up for justice there are no good cops. Right now, those who actually try to serve and protect the people are fired for it

    1. The one from my class that became a cop was one of the most conniving, cowardly little assholes I have known.

    2. The cop in my junior high class was not an asshole, but he certainly seemed to be the one who was always in a fight.  A memorable character with a reasonably decent but feisty disposition, “El Chango” got into five fistfights in one day, with five different people and three of them were bigger than he was!

  3. The prior chief of Police in Port Huron Michigan, when teaching a Political Science class, told us that Police trainees would not be accepted if they scored too high on an IQ type test. Just saying….

  4. So wrong on so many levels. Never mind racial slur or war hero,  how is it okay to shot an old man in his home?

      1.  Get a badge and go for it, you mean. The brotherhood will protect you. We are not the enemy. There is no excuse in the 21st century for shooting first without using any other means to defuse a situation before it escalates and ends in the needless death of a a fellow human being. The time is long over due for P.D.s nation wide to take responsibility for their actions just as we are expected to.
        Ignorance of a law doesn’t let a person off the hook. Why should ignorance of this man’s condition let these police walk the streets?

  5. This is truly a terrible incident, but I do think it has been sensationalized in this post and subsequent comments.  While it is true that there was no real reason for the police to show up in the first place, aside from an accidentally triggered medical alert, when they did arrive they found a disturbed man brandishing weapons at them.

    The officers who showed up acted on their training.

    It is the training that we give these young men and women that we need to improve, and I think that this isn’t too much to ask for.  It’s not constructive to declare that the people who take on the task of protecting all of us monsters and move on.

    1. Police are trained to force entry into a home without a warrant and electrocute (and then shoot) a man who they had reason to believe was suffering heart problems?

      1. No, but when they arrive, when they are threatened by an unhinged gentlemen brandishing a cleaver the situation escalates.

        I am not generally an apologist for these sorts of things, but I do believe that this is a situation where the training was at fault.

        When the police arrived this gentleman was disoriented and upset with the police— from what I understand of what has been reported (I’m in the area).  I am not sure what was done in the way of mediation but I think that this was most certainly the best option with a trained psychological professional.  

        I am afraid what happened was that the police who showed up were made responsible for making the situation “safe” as soon as possible, and as a result rash decisions were made.

        I’m afraid that it is also unclear how upset this gentleman was, he asked for “marine support” and “presidential intervention” during this standoff.  It could have been handled in a better way but it isn’t useful to create a straw man.

        1. Go on.. defend the perpetrators.

          Your proximity to the area has nothing to do with anything. The fact that you don’t understand the legality of the situation is testimony to that. They had no reason to enter his premises. They had legitimate reason to show up, but as soon as they established he was alive they had no right to demand and force entry.

          He was not directly threatening them… If you think it’s possible to threaten someone on the other side of a door using a knife you are an idiot. He asked them to go away and they didn’t. This is entirely the cops fault and if they just fucked off as they should have then nothing would have happened. Think whatever you want.. maybe racism and ignorance are just naturally ingrained in the people of White Plains.

          1. I think kid’s point is that saying “those people are bad” does not help solve the problem.  Saying “let’s change their process so it doesn’t produce people like that” might.

            Edit: that change to the process might include punitive measures for people who do crap like this, but if it’s limited to that, it’s not going to solve the problem.

        2. I am willing to listen to the other side here, can you provide evidence of what you claim that has been vetted and verified?
          If the only ones making the claims are the survivors, you could understand my skepticism about that version of the story.  They still would need to explain the racial slurs, and one has to admit one facing racially based charges of police abuse really undercuts what they are saying.

          There is now an inherent mistrust of the police, and it is not being helped by several well covered stories of the police breaking the law and then the department covering up the event upto and including lying to people about what they can see with their own eyes as it happened.

          The outcome of this was horrible, and I think alot of it has to do with the addition of the taser to the police tools.  Once upon a time they talked, talked, talked, and then talked some more because the next step was gun.  You had to have a damn good reason to draw a gun, and an airtight one to pull the trigger.  Nowdays it seems that its bark an order (or not), tase, tase again, if they twitch… tase again.  What should have been an amazing nonlethal alternative became the goto option at the first thought.

        3. Last time I checked people (even police officers) were still allowed to use common sense and regular human means of interaction. Like trying to deescalate the situation through talking instead of shooting. You don´t have to be a trained psychologist to talk to people you know?

          Of course a prerequisite for that would be to view your fellow people as human beings instead of perpetual safety risks or simply annoyances.

        4. So you don’t have the right to defend yourself against armed invaders of your home?

        5. I am afraid what happened was that the police who showed up were made responsible for making the situation “safe” as soon as possible, and as a result rash decisions were made.

          Safe? I don’t think that word means what you think it means.  The victim was safe until they tased him and shot him dead. The police were safe until they fucking broke into the guys house and provoked a confrontation. Ok, they were safe even afterwards, because they were armed.
          You are part of the problem.

        6.  I think I follow your logic kid sampson. The officer showed up. The dead home owner was confused and asked for marine support and presidential intervention while holding a kitchen knife. So, In order to make that situation safe, they shot the man in his own home.

           Closing the door and calling an ambulance so that intelligent and well trained medical personnel is clearly out of the question. After all, cops aren’t trained to back down or to protect the innocent.

          Makes sense. If a man is very very upset and holds a cooking utensil in his own home, their job is to make the situation safe as soon as possible. What is safer than dead after all?

      1. it reminds me of the rapist cop who told everyone he was just “cuddling” with the unconcious woman in her bed.  Uh-huh. 

    2. He was not brandishing weapons at them. He allegedly had a knife, but there is not proof of that. And he begged them through his closed door for at least 20 minutes to put away their guns, so there was not a shred of immediate threat. They knew he was ill because of the medical alert device, but they tasered him anyway.

      If that is what was dictated by their training, then their trainers ought to be tossed down a well. Along with your apologist bullshit.

        1. Good for you, using the term “possible”, but no… as for “trained” (Daemonworks), I find it officially impossible, even in “some jurisdictions”.  Even in the historically racial south, but this was New York state.

          Have we all seen “Serpico”?  Times change, but “brotherhoods” don’t, and they find new and original ways to maintain a twisted bent.

          Hey… “brotherhood”… intensify the effort to feminize the force, make it 50-50, until the cavemen are civilized?  Screw their continuous discomfort, they don’t deserve comfort in that work environment, the results have shown year after year, decade upon decade.

          1.  No, the sort of women who  apply to be cops aren’t any better.

            Some first steps should be totally disarming them, prohibiting their wearing armor, eliminating legal immunity, reinstituting private prosecutions for all officers and other public officials, requiring them to pass hard tests on  criminal law and civil rights, criminalizing wearing the uniform on side jobs, and requiring them to wear microphones and cameras uploading to remote servers when on duty.

        2. The world needs more Marge Gundersons!  That final scene in “Fargo”, where Marge praises her husband’s duck painting announced as an official USPS stamp, is the heart and soul of the movie, decent people immortalized in peaceful ways.

    3. Yeah, I’m with you, I’m less angry about this whole thing after reading the details of what (supposedly) happened.  It’s reasonable for them to try to gain entry, even if their method of doing so was bad.  (Similarly, if you call 911 and say you have an emergency, the cops aren’t gonna just go away if you tell them to leave from behind a closed door.)  And once they gained entry, they encountered an unhinged, drunken man slashing at them with a butcher’s knife.  He wasn’t exactly a sick, defenseless old man who was shot in cold blood by racists like people seem to believe.

      1. “And once they gained entry, they encountered an unhinged, drunken man slashing at them with a butcher’s knife. ”

        According to Democracy Now, lawyers  and family who viewed the video from the Taser stated it showed that when the police entered the apt, Chamberlain was standing quietly facing them, with his arms at his sides.  Then the Taser fires. 

        1. According to Democracy Now, lawyers  and family who viewed the video from the Taser stated it showed that when the police entered the apt, Chamberlain was standing quietly facing them, with his arms at his sides.  Then the Taser fires.  

          Funny how that part seems to slip by some people.  Actually, it’s not funny.

    4. Training has little to do with this. It is the culture of law enforcement that is the problem.

      You can train people to have the highest standards all you want. And if law enforcement culture held people accountable to these standards, it would send a clear message that it’s not acceptable. That’s what happens in ordinary culture, and in fact law enforcement is part of that mechanism.

      But as can be seen from this story, that’s not what is happening. People do shit like this, then it is covered up, defended, protected. The message is: don’t embarrass the force. And everyone is a criminal until proved otherwise.

      We are missing a mechanism that sends the message to law enforcement that this behaviour is not acceptable. Two of the components we have now: the internet, and video. The third? Cracking some fucking heads. It’s coming closer every day.

      Edit: how come we never hear from cops in this forum? They are strangely silent.

    1.  No, we just have to put together a group that can effectively make the police pay. Taser torture = two cop cruisers are burned. Inappropriate pepper spray = three cruisers. Death = arson at a police station.

      1. So if you can just clean up the cops, America will be okay? LOL.

        Not to take anything away from your proposed methods, but I feel they shouldn’t be so restricted.

        …Come to think of it, fire’s too good for the banks. White phosphorus.

        1. Yes yes you are A Random Australian Man and you hate all things North American. WE KNOW. Now go put some shrimp on the barbee and shut the hell up.


          PS the Queen likes us way more

      2. Destroying property paid by tax payers as a “punishment”?  Yeah, that will teach them :)))

      3.  If you want to argue the value of acts of propaganda-by-deed you might find Alexander Berkman’s ‘Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist’ edifying.  He intended to kill Carnegie (but had to settle for an attempt on the first Frick he came across) and it didn’t work out for him very well.  Ideologically, I mean.

    2. Sorry Bruce, we’ve tried. It is actually the go-to American response w/r/t racially motivated police brutality– Chicago 1967, Los Angeles 1992, and even as recently as 2001 in Cincinnati–however, it has never been a very successful approach… The fires never seem to spread outside of the poorer neighborhoods, but that’s building code for you, I guess. Anyway, thanks for the great suggestion, but we’ll pass. If you’ve got any more bright ideas, though, we’d love to hear them. Love, Americans.

      1. 1. Props for the Python reference.

        2. I used to listen to the DKs.

        3. It wasn’t so much a serious suggestion as an expression of eyeball-swivelling, vein-throbbing, hair-tearing frustration².

  6. What gives anti? Cops need to realise that revenge killings for crap like this are a real possibility.

    This is the asshole who killed him:

    On second thought, I’m not sure if I got moderated or flagged for editing the post with a link. My money is on moderated because another of my belligerent comments in yesterday’s tobacco wars topic mysteriously disappeared.

    1.  Disqus does weird shit to posts all the time. They usually come back. If it disappears but doesn’t say: “comment removed” then it’s most likely the scripts.

  7. Law enforcement in the U.S. and the UK is completely off control and I would not live there even if they paid me in gold bullion, no more than I would live in any Fourth-World hellhole where cops and paramilitary are likely to shoot you full of holes for running a poorly signaled roadblock.

    Just the idea of drawing guns or tasers when responding to a medical device call, is complete madness, if not criminal in itself.   Whatever their model of law enforcement, they should dump it into a well. Anonymous Coward has the (better) past and (horrible) present down to a tee”Once upon a time they talked, talked, talked, and then talked some more because the next step was gun.  You had to have a damn good reason to draw a gun, and an airtight one to pull the trigger.  Nowdays it seems that its bark an order (or not), tase, tase again, if they twitch… tase again. “And literally, Americans, please lynch! anyone who insists on practicing this madness. In Europe, policemen still practice the “talk, mediate and keep the peace” model. It’s the only right one. Cops are supposed to keep the peace and protect people.

    1. It’s the Land of the Free! Some are just more free than the others. Free to taser, torture and kill their fellow citizens. Free from prosecution. Free from responsibility.

  8. Um let me get this right. He was tasered then shot with bean bags and still didn’t go down? Why didn’t the police officer aim for his leg or something?

    1. That’s exactly what I was thinking… intent aside— wouldn’t repeated tasing make it impossible for a 68 year old to brandish a weapon with any real threat to these officers?

      I don’t get it. Anyone with experience with tasers want to inform?

  9. once again – ZERO  accountability !
    these storm-troopers can enter your home and kill you with no repercussion.
    and they wonder why we say FUCK THE POLICE !

  10. This is utterly shameful. I can only hope that the officers & officials in charge are branded for life as the cowardly murdering scumbags that they so clearly are. 

    We keep on militarizing our peacekeepers and people are surprised when they end up being aggressive, constitution-ignoring thugs. They can kick your door in, shoot your dog, forget the warrant and beat you senseless. Punishment is never meted out. 

    It doesn’t matter – the system protects them and their unions get them back on the job within months. Everytime one of these “isolated” incidents pops up, the officers in question almost always have a dozen other serious violations under their belt that somehow just got overlooked by their bosses. And even then – an outright murder doesn’t even warrant a slap on the wrist. 

    Want to guess what YOUR punishment would be if you showed up to this cops house, kicked open the door and murdered him?

  11. Remind me again how much worse it would be if there were no prisons or jails or police. Because thugs would burst into people’s houses and kill them for no good reason?

  12. Judging by the fact that he denied entranced to the cops and said he was worried they would kill him, and then they did, should we conclude that he was paranoid, or reasonable (since it turned out he was right), or psychic? Just a good guess? Coincidence?

  13. I wish you were a bit more precise in your wording- “no charges will be filed” implies that investigators/prosecutors decided there were no grounds to bring charges against the officers, which would indeed be troubling and suggestive of bias.  What ACTUALLY happened is that prosecutors filed charges, and the grand jury heard the evidence and decided that it didn’t support the charges.  What happened is horrible and should NOT have happened, but the grand jury decided that this particular tragedy was not caused by criminal acts. 

    Hey commenters: the grand jury heard from 42 witnesses, they saw 100 exhibits including the full audio and video that was recorded.  There’s no evidence that anyone was playing hide the ball.  Maybe instead of just assuming based on a couple news articles that the grand jury was horribly biased and wrong, we should assume that they, having seen all the evidence in the case, know something we don’t?  Just a thought.

    1. sorry but the American people know what is right and what is wrong.  Cops breaking into any sick persons home and tasing them should be a CRIME.  Even if they do not kill that person.  The fact that they broke into the home after the medical device company told them to stop makes it worse.
      The cops are guilty of being stupid racist bastards if nothing else.

    2. The Grand Jury was also host to a police department telling their side and slanting the evidence, not from the victim refuting their claims.

      NYDaily News:
      “After an hour-long standoff, the cops took the apartment door off its hinges, and shot Chamberlain with a Taser and a beanbag gun before White Plains Officer Anthony Carelli put a bullet in his chest.

      Cops said Chamberlain was coming at them with a knife and a hatchet.”

      CBS NY:
      “Family members said Chamberlain told officers he was OK, but they insisted on seeing him. Police took the door off and, they said, Chamberlain came at them with a cleaver and a knife.”

      No knife, no cleaver.

      Democracy Now-Family’s Attorney and former prosecutor:
      And in this case, Mr. Chamberlain didn’t have a gun. Mr. Chamberlain, when I saw the videotape, did not have a knife when he was in his apartment. You see a 68-year-old man with no shirt on and boxer shorts and his hands down at his sides. And I didn’t see any weapon in his hands there.

      And the other thing that’s troubling to me is the fact that a taser was used at all, because you’re there for a medical response. You’re not there investigating a criminal act. You are there with the understanding that there may be a person who needs medical assistance.”

      Lindsay Keipper:
      “What ACTUALLY happened is that prosecutors filed charges, and the grand jury heard the evidence and decided that it didn’t support the charges.


      They likely decided the evidence was not provable in court, despite the obviously unconscionable behavior of the ‘cops.’ The evidence could entirely support the charges, but proving it in court without a victim only suggests the liars, department dissemblers and gas-lighters from the police department demonstrated the convoluted mess they could transform any attempt at justice.

      With hope, the civil trial will produce what a broken criminal justice system and cowardly police force has yet again failed to do.

    3. Maybe instead of just assuming based on a couple news articles that the grand jury was horribly biased and wrong, we should assume that they, having seen all the evidence in the case, know something we don’t?

      Or we could assume that most Americans are pinheaded lickspittles who do what they’re told by anyone in a uniform.

    4. I agree entirely with the view that dramatic court cases are invariably distorted when presented in the media.  The media is interested in an exciting story, one that’ll angry up the blood.  Restraint is a virtue.

      But if this case is not cause for outrage, what is?

      Many people may indeed be jumping to the conclusion that the grand jury was bent or got it wrong or only saw skewed evidence.  I don’t know.  I am also aware that the law never promises perfection; injustices will necessarily exist in a system designed and mediated by humans, and such are the price iof having any justice at all.  

      I do know, though, that if this can happen and no charges are laid, then there is something very, very wrong somewhere.   Something so big it cannot be ignored.  I don’t necessarily have a good idea, from my armchair, of where that monstrous injustice might be hiding.

      I am afraid that that which should not be ignored will be.  I fear that perfectly reasonable calls for restraint will be used by those who wish the evil to remain hidden, that some enormity will scuttle again unmolested back to its hiding place.

    5.  And what charges were presented to the grand jury? Did they have the full smorgasbord or was it just murder-2? It’s easy for a motivated prosecutor to get an indictment, and it’s easy for a prosecutor to make it clear that she doesn’t want an indictment but is just going through the motions because of political pressure. Not to mention that the prosecutor could just have brought the charges first, and gone to the jury afterwards for those that were felonies. That’s how it’s usually done.

      Was it made clear to the grand jury that the cops had no legitimate reason or legal authority to force their way into the apartment? I strongly doubt it. I also doubt that the grand jury heard all the audio.

      The prosecutor works hand in glove with these cops all the time, in every case. She ignores when they lie. They or their fellow officers may have dirt on her, but they can certainly make her job difficult in many ways. She’s not going to go after them.

  14. This is the first time I’m geniuinely shocked that a blatant murder by police isn’t going to be punished.   I mean, I expect police to be psychotic bullies – I’m gay and married to a black man so I know first hand how interested in “protecting and serving” the police are (hint:  they’re not).

    But they frigging tazed an elderly man with a heart condition, mocking him and calling him names till they KILLED HIM. 

    And he knew that’s exactly what was going to happen. 

    it breaks my heart.  Was justice always a fantasy?

  15. Not to troll, but I wonder how the delusional astroturfers are spinning this. 

    1. Yes, 68 is elderly. That’s old enough to have been a member of AARP for longer than some voters have been alive. It’s old enough to get Social Security retirement benefits. It’s 12 years more than his life expectancy at birth.

      1. It kind of depends on where you live. Some of the spin and aerobics teachers at the gym here are in their mid-sixties. Then I see photos of people in the UK who look like they’re 112 and waiting to die, and I read the caption and find out that they’re 60-ish. And waiting to die.

  16. Democracy Now has audio and video of some of the stand-off, plus phone calls between several parties involved. The really horrible parts are the phone call from Chamberlain’s sister to a police dispatcher, worried that they will end up shooting him. And Chamberlain talking to the medical alert dispatcher, telling how he needs protection from the police trying to bust in his door. Who watches the watchmen? Who you gonna call?

  17. Well, that’s what he gets for interfering with a police officer interfering with him.

    Note to medical alert device manufacturers:
    Please design a simple-to-lift cover over the medical alert button so that more innocent people don’t die due to police brutality/racism when they roll over in bed and accidentally press the button.

    No charges. At all.  Even with the recorded, racist proof.


Comments are closed.