A Westchester County grand jury has decided not to indict the White Plains officer who fatally shot an unarmed chronically ill elderly black man.
There will be no trial for Officer Anthony Carelli, who shot Marine veteran Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr. during a tense confrontation last November. “After due deliberation on the evidence presented in this matter, the grand jury found that there was no reasonable cause to vote an indictment,” said Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore, who added that the case was “a tragedy on many levels.”
Carelli, an officer since 2004 who is also on trial in a separate police brutality case, shot Chamberlain Sr. on Nov. 19 after an hour-long standoff with police. Chamberlain Sr., who suffered from a chronic heart condition and wore a pendant to signal LifeAid, had mistakenly triggered his medical alert that evening-police insisted on entering his apartment, although he said he was fine. Tensions grew as one officer allegedly used the N-word, another officer was reportedly heard yelling, “I need to use your bathroom to pee!” and others were allegedly mocking Chamberlain’s military service after they discovered he was a former Marine.
“We believe the evidence confirming Officer Carelli’s actions were justified was overwhelming,” attorney Andrew Quinn said. “While it’s always tragic when a civilian loses his life, Officer Carelli’s actions in this matter were clearly justified.” DiFiore had received criticism throughout the case because of her initial reluctance to release the name of the officer. gothamist.com
The family slammed the decision as a “blatant cover up” and said it would request a Justice Department investigation. nydailynews.com
The grand jury’s decision was announced Thursday by Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore. nbcnewyork.com
The grand jury began hearing the case against Carelli three weeks ago, after national attention in the Trayvon Martin killing in Florida awoke new interest in the November shooting of the elderly black heart patient in Westchester. nydailynews.com
The grand jury heard audio and saw video from the case, and heard testimony from 42 witnesses, the DA said. Some 100 exhibits were reviewed, including ballistics and photos from the scene, and the officers involved were among those who testified. nbcnewyork.com
The lawyer for the family of Chamberlain Sr., who has reviewed the LifeAid audiobox recording (which picked up every sound inside the apartment during the fatal confrontation) and the security camera video, said: “The minute they got in the house, they didn’t even give him one command. They never mentioned ‘put your hands up.’ They never told him to lay down on the bed. The first thing they did…you could see the Taser light up…and you could see it going directly toward him.” Police claim Chamberlain was an “emotionally disturbed” man who first appeared to have a hatchet during the standoff, then later came at them with a knife-which wasn’t captured on video-when Carelli fired two shots. Chamberlain died a few hours later in surgery from his wounds. gothamist.com
- Cops Will Not Face Charges In Shooting Death Of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. (hiphopwired.com)
- Killed at Home: Police Called Out on Medical Alert Shoot Dead Black Veteran, 68 (promoteliberty.wordpress.com)
- No Indictment In White Plains Police Killing Of Kenneth Chamberlain (newyork.cbslocal.com)