If Trayvon Martin showed us that wearing a hoodie and walking in a gated community is enough to get killed as long as you’re an African American male, then Kenneth Chamberlain will shows us that death is also a fitting punishment if you’re an elderly veteran, sitting in your home, who had the misfortune of accidentally calling for help:
Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., a 68-year-old African-American Marine veteran, was fatally shot in November by White Plains, NY, police who responded to a false alarm from his medical alert pendant. The officers broke down Chamberlain’s door, tasered him, and then shot him dead. Audio of the entire incident was recorded by the medical alert device in Chamberlain’s apartment.
His son, Kenneth Chambrlain, Jr., was on Democracy Now with Amy Goodman, and filled in some details. The story is heartbreaking:
He’s saying that he’s OK. He’s saying that he did not call for them. But they were very insistent. They were banging on the door, banging on the door, banging on the door. So you hear one of the officers say to him, “Well, you pushed your—you triggered your alarm now.” He said, “That’s because I want you to leave me alone.” And they just kept telling him, “Open the door. Open the door. Let us see that you’re all right.” At some point, the door was cracked open, because the police officers have a taser that has a camera on it, and it also has audio. So you could see where the door was cracked open. So, once you’ve gotten a visual, and you’ve seen that my father is OK, and he’s telling you that he’s OK, why would you still insist on getting into the apartment? Which is the question that I have. And they weren’t responding to a crime. He was sleeping and accidentally triggered his alarm.
Ultimately, after using expletives and racial slurs, they broke down the door. You can see on the video from the taser that they fired a taser at him. And I’m assuming that both prongs didn’t go in. He stood about maybe eight to 10 feet away from them with his hands down to his side. And at one point, you hear one of the officers say, “Cut it off.” And it was at that point they shot and killed my father.
In case you’re wondering, this is why black people think white racism is still a problem in the United States.