DA Will Present White Plains' Chamberlain Shooting to Grand Jury

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Kenneth Chamberlain Jr., the son of a White Plains man who died two hours after being shot by police, has created a petition urging the district attorney's office to publicly release audio and video of the incident before the shooting is presented to a grand jury. Photo Credit: Sarina Trangle

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The Westchester District Attorney's Office confirmed Monday that the case of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., who died two hours after being shot by White Plains police, will be presented to a grand jury within a month.

Approximately 172,134 people have signed a petition urging the district attorney’s office to release audio and video of police’s Nov. 19 response to a medical alert, which the Chamberlain family said documents officers using a racial slur and expletives before unhinging the Winbrook Public Housing apartment door and shooting the 68-year-old former marine and corrections officer.

Lucian Chalfen, a press representative for the district attorney’s office, said the family and its attorneys were granted access to the audio and video as a courtesy. However, the recordings and other evidence that “may potentially be shown to a grand jury are not public record,” according to Chalfen. He couldn’t comment on whether the audio and video will be presented to the grand jury.

Mayo Bartlett, an attorney representing the Chamberlain family, said publicly releasing the audio and video would relieve concerns that the grand jury may not be given access to all evidence.

“We’ve been advised by the district attorney’s office that they’re going to fully present this matter to the grand jury. If they do that, that would mean that those tapes would be played in their entirety,” said Bartlett. “They may decide to play some of the tapes, to play part of the tapes, to redact the tapes, or not to play any of the tapes. We can’t control that and we’ll never know.”

Bartlett said the recordings counter police’s narrative that Chamberlain Sr. was armed when police entered his home.

“We believe that the grand jury should be able to fairly come to a conclusion that this is a homicide,” said Bartlett. “I would like for the grand jury to be able to consider any and all possible charges that could be found as a result of the conduct of the police.”

Public Safety Commissioner David Chong declined to comment. After the Nov. 19 shooting, he said officers heard noises behind the 135 S. Lexington Ave. apartment and began prying open the door to ensure that everyone inside was safe. A hatchet was shoved through the crack of the apartment door and confiscated by police, according to Chong. 

Once inside, police have said they found Chamberlain Sr. alone with a butcher’s knife. Chong has said officers attempted to subdue Chamberlain Sr. with a Taser and beanbag gun, however, he came at police with the knife, prompting an officer to shoot him twice in the chest. Chamberlain Sr. died about two hours later while undergoing surgery at the White Plains Hospital.

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