WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Supporters huddled together and lit candles despite strong winds on Tuesday evening to remember Kenneth Chamberlain Sr ., an ex-Marine and law enforcement officer shot to death in his home by White Plains police on Nov. 19, 2011.
The vigil was held outside the Department of Public Safety on South Lexington Avenue. It was hosted by the Lower Hudson Valley Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, along with the Westchester Coalition for Police Reform, other civil rights groups and the Chamberlain family.
Kenneth Chamberlain Jr., Chamberlain Sr.'s son, addressed the crowd of around 60.
"Although we have made some progress, two years later we have yet to scratch the surface to get to the truth of a tragedy we know never should have happened," he said.
Attorneys for the Chamberlain family, Randolph McLaughlin and Mayo Bartlett, were present and gave their own remarks.
The issue of racial prejudice has been prevalent since Day 1 of the case because Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. was an African-American. One of the officers involved in the incident was recorded calling Chamberlain a racial slur before breaking down the door of his apartment.
"We would like to think and pray that this thing is above race and above ethnic backgrounds," said Damon Jones, New York Representative of Blacks In Law Enforcement of America, "But we also know that, if we are honest with ourselves, it does play a role. It does play a role in a decision of an officer to shoot or not shoot a suspect."
"It is clear, that if you call the police for assistance, you should not end up dead. That you should be killed by the same people who have sworn to protect you." said Bartlett.
"The Department of Public Safety has become the Department of Public Danger," McLaughlin said, "If these men have guns and have a license to kill with impunity, it is an outrage that the man who shot and killed Kenneth Chamberlain is walking free with a gun on his hip and was never prosecuted in this town."
Officer Anthony Carelli, the officer who shot the bullet that killed Chamberlain Sr., was cleared of charges in 2012.
According to Chamberlain Jr., the family is still waiting on a determination from the Department of Justice on if any criminal indictments should be made.
He has also focused his efforts towards pushing for legislation to better train police officers and prevent future incidents from occurring.
"Nothing I can do can bring my father back, so, if I can stop the next Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., then I've done my job, " he said.
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