Report: White Plains Police 'Reckless' In Chamberlain Case

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Damon Jones, director of the Westchester chapter of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America, denounces a city-commissioned report that called the fatal shooting of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. "totally justified." Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – White Plains police acted with “reckless abandonment” in the shooting death of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., according to an analysis of the city-commissioned report that called it “totally justified.”

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The new report was written by Jimmy Bell of the Jackson State University's Department of Criminal Justice and Sociology. He is also a member of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America. Another member, Damon Jones, presented Bell’s analysis to the White Plains Common Council at its meeting Monday.

Kenneth Chamberlain Jr. and his family lawyers also attended but did not speak.

Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. was shot Nov. 19, 2011, by Officer Anthony Carelli after police responded to a medical alert from Life Aid that Chamberlain had accidentally triggered at 5:30 a.m. During an hourlong standoff at his apartment at 163 S. Lexington Ave., Chamberlain refused to open his door to allow police to verify his condition.

The city commissioned an independent investigation authored by four academics that was released in October. They conducted four months of “site visits, interviews of police personnel, examination of the departmental policies and procedures,” as well as “a host of documents related to the organizational and operational structure of the department.” One of the authors, Michael Walker, an associate professor at Passaic Community College, concluded that all non-lethal tactics were exhausted before Carelli shot Chamberlain.

However, Bell’s report questions that conclusion and puts out 10 questions he says were not answered in the city-commissioned report (see attached report).

Jones also called the report incomplete Monday because the authors didn't interview residents of the Winbrook housing complex where the shooting took place. As someone who works in law enforcement and has seen similar reports, he said this report was “copy and pasted.” 

Bell’s analysis concluded that the White Plains Police Department “violated both their mission statement and their sacred oath of office by facilitating the death of Mr. Chamberlain.”

A $21 million wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family in August charges that the eight police officers violated Chamberlain's rights when they broke down his apartment door. A notice of claim for the wrongful death lawsuit was filed in May after a Westchester County grand jury decided not to indict police in the shooting. At that time, family lawyers also asked the U.S. attorney's office for the southern district of New York to investigate.

Attached: (re-examing_the_white_plains_police_department_report_2012.pdf)

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