A federal judge on Monday set a Nov. 7 trial date in the $21 million wrongful death lawsuit against White Plains, New York, in the police-involved shooting of 68-year-old Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., reports The Journal News.
Chamberlain, an African-American U.S. Navy veteran and retired corrections officer, was shot and killed in 2011 after police responded to a call at his apartment about an alarm on a medical device, notes the report.
The scene turned deadly when Chamberlain, who battled substance abuse, exercised his constitutional right and refused to open the door of his ground-floor apartment to officers, saying the alarm went off by accident, his son, Kenneth Chamberlain Jr., told NewsOne Tuesday in a telephone interview.
But officers gave divergent accounts of the fateful early morning encounter. Police claim shots were fired after Chamberlain brandished a knife at officers during an hours-long standoff in a case that has national implications in the ongoing debate about the use of excessive police force in communities of color.
U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel called the case a close call, throwing out “most of the suit’s claims and excused all of the defendants except Officer Anthony Carelli, who shot Chamberlain, and the city, as his employer,” writes The News:
Despite being shot with a stun gun and bean bags, police said Chamberlain continued to come at them and threaten them. When he allegedly charged at one of the officers with the knife, Chamberlain was shot and killed by [officer Anthony] Carelli.
Chamberlain Jr. bristled at the notion that the case is a close call, noting that his dad was on the floor when Officer Carelli shot him. One of the bullets lodged into the wall, just inches from the floor, he said.
“How is that a close call? My dad could not have been standing when the shot was fired” because the officer was aiming for his torso, he said. Still, a New York grand jury in 2012 declined to indict Carelli.
But Chamberlain, 49, a father of three grown children and a teenager, is hopeful he will claim justice for his father in the wrongful death suit. He says he’s pleased to be fighting for his father, who served his country in the military and as a law enforcement officer.
“The other day my kids told me they were proud of me,” said Chamberlain, who works as a case manager for the Urban League of Westchester County, New York. “Their grandfather, my dad, taught us not to quit, and to never give up.”
SOURCE: The Journal News | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty