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Family Seeks Name of White Plains Officer in Chamberlain Shooting

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – The son of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., a 68-year-old who died two hours after being shot by police during an incident in his apartment in November, petitioned White Plains City Hall on Monday to pressure police into publicizing the name of the officer who shot him.  The Chamberlain family also asked city hall to urge the Westchester District Attorney’s Office to release audio and video of the incident.

Kenneth Chamberlain Jr. said not knowing which officer responding to a medical alert at the Winbrook Public Housing complex shot his father, a former U.S. Marine and corrections officer, crippled his trust that an investigation presented to a grand jury would be dealt with in a “transparent” manner.

“In the other incidents that you have out here of questionable shootings, the officers' names were given out. So it only makes my family and I wonder why isn’t this officer’s name released?” said Chamberlain Jr. “Had that been myself or any other citizen inside here that shot and killed someone, our whole life history would be on television, on the radio and in the newspaper. I feel that it’s only right, it’s only fair that that officer’s name be released.”

Mayor Thomas Roach spoke on behalf of his six fellow Democratic Common Council Persons, offering his condolences to the Chamberlain family. Roach wouldn’t discuss his thoughts on releasing the officer’s name and recordings of the Nov. 19 incident. He told the dozens of supporters, the Mount Hope A.M.E. Zion Church Pastor and other civil rights leaders he had confidence that Westchester District Attorney Janet DiFiore would thoroughly investigate the matter.

“A full investigation is owed to the late Mr. Chamberlain, his family, the police officers involved and our community,” said Roach. “This is a nightmare. And you wake from a nightmare with truth. And that’s what we’ll all pursue here.”

The Chamberlain family was allowed to view audio and video of the shooting as a courtesy . The family is now calling on the district attorney’s office to publicly release the recordings , which their attorney said documents officers taunting Chamberlain Sr. and using a racial slur before breaking down his door. The recordings, the Chamberlain family said, question police’s claims that Chamberlain Sr. was armed when police entered his 135 S. Lexington Ave. apartment.

Damon Jones, the executive director of Westchester Blacks in Law Enforcement, called on the police department to release procedures for medical alert responses and policies describing when and how officers use force.

“Police officers are public officials. They are employed by the public. They are paid by the public tax dollars,” said Jones. “We ask the city council and the mayor to release everything so the public can know and the public can weigh in on whether their police department is actually serving the community.”

Public Safety Commissioner David Chong declined to comment. After the incident, he said police heard noises coming from the apartment and began unhinging the door to confirm that nobody inside needed assistance. Officers confiscated a hatchet that was pushed through the crack of the door, according to Chong.

Police have said they then found Chamberlain Sr. alone inside his apartment with a butcher’s knife. Chong has said officers tried to subdue Chamberlain Sr. with a Taser and a beanbag gun, but he pointed the knife at police, prompting an officer to shoot him twice in the chest. Approximately two hours later, Chamberlain Sr. died while undergoing surgery at the White Plains Hospital.

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