Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., a 68-year-old former Marine with bipolar disorder and a cardiac ailment, mistakenly activated his medical alert device on November 19, 2011. The alert was received by the medical alert business. When Chamberlain did not answer, the operator notified the White Plains, New York, authorities.
Officers were dispatched to his residence to check on him. When the officers arrived at Chamberlain’s residence, they refused to leave until he let them in. Chamberlain informed the authorities that he was not in any danger and that the officers had made a mistake. Chamberlain’s door was broken down, he was tasered, and then shot and killed by the officers.
Chamberlain was a retired Marine who had spent the last 20 years working for the Westchester County Department of Corrections in New York. Due to a chronic cardiac ailment, he was compelled to wear his LifeAid medical bracelet. According to reports, the officers insulted Chamberlain’s military service and addressed him with racial epithets during the ensuing argument.
“They immediately began this full-on assault once the door was smashed down,” Chamberlain’s son Kenneth Chamberlain Jr. told PEOPLE. “They never attempted to defuse the issue.”
Racism has been leveled against local law officers and the legal system. They made no attempt to investigate the incident. Officer Steven Hart, one of the cops involved in the encounter, used a racist slur to describe Chamberlain, according to the White Plains police report. They also left out the fact that the initial contact had been for a medical emergency, according to BlackPast.
Chamberlain’s death was not linked to any of the cops involved. The police and the city were judged not to be at fault by a jury. Chamberlain’s family, however, filed an appeal in 2018. In June 2020, an appeals court ruled that the officers had violated Chamberlain’s 4th amendment rights by employing excessive force and entering his home without permission.
Kenneth Chamberlain’s death and final moments are now the subjects of a film named The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain. Morgan Freeman and Lori McCreary’s Revelations Entertainment executive produced the film, which also emphasizes the need for police reform and accountability.
According to Those, Chamberlain Jr. also hopes that the film will serve as a lesson to law enforcement on how to deal with people who have mental health issues.
“If nothing else,” he continued, “I want this picture to act as a teaching tool, a teaching tool on what not to do.” “I’m reminded of a man who died in a way he didn’t have to.” That this was merely a medical emergency, and that if you had handled it properly, my father would still be alive today.”
Before his death, Chamberlain Jr. wrote that he listened to the recorded medical alert call and heard his father begging cops to leave him alone.
He wrote, “We know police officers are not mental health doctors.” “The mobile crisis prevention and response team in Westchester County, where my father was slain, does not have enough of a presence in the neighborhood. What happens when police are dispatched to a call involving a person who appears to be mentally ill and there is no crisis intervention team on hand?
“The lack of a mental health specialist on that police call is a formula for escalation, violence, and possibly death, as we’ve seen with my father and others.”
Chamberlain Jr. is still seeking justice for his father’s killing at the hands of cops. He described his father as a “God-fearing man” who attended to church every Sunday, according to him.
“His pastor told him the day before he was killed, ‘Your father was simply cleaning the church for Sunday worship.’ My father would never harm someone; all he wanted was to be left alone.”