Democracy Now! co-host and columnist for the New York Daily News.
Democracy Now! co-host Juan Gonzalez has obtained a photograph of White Plains Police Officer Anthony Carelli, the officer alleged to have fired the two shots that killed Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., the 68-year-old former Marine whose medical alert button accidentally summoned police to his apartment last November. The police union has blasted the release of the officer’s name, saying he deserves the right to a fair and impartial inquiry. Chamberlain’s son said he agrees, but notes that the White Plains police failed to grant his father the same opportunity. [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN: Juan, you have an important follow-up piece in the Daily News, as you have been crusading in the last days, finding out more information on the death of 68-year-old former Marine Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., November 19th, 2011. His medical alert button went off. Maybe he rolled over it in the middle of the night. The company couldn’t reach him, so they called the police to help him, said it was a medical emergency, not a criminal one. They came to the door. He woke up. He said he was fine. The police broke down his door, and as he told them, "I am fine, you can go way," they shot him with a taser, and then they shot him dead. Juan, in today’s piece in the New York Daily News, tell us what you have found.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, the most—the new evidence is we finally were able to get a photo of the police officer, who we revealed yesterday in the Daily News, who fired the two shots that killed Kenneth Chamberlain. His name is Anthony Carelli. And more importantly, the police union came out, the White Plains police union, blasting the release of his name, even though authorities have tried to keep the identity of all the cops involved in this incident secret now for more than four months. So the police union blasted the release of that evidence and said, "We are very disappointed that anybody would release the name of this officer during an ongoing investigation."
And they also said, "Officer Anthony Carelli has numerous commendations and has been an excellent police officer, both on and off the job, and he deserves the right to a fair and impartial inquiry." And Kenneth Chamberlain’s son, Kenneth Chamberlain Jr., yesterday said he absolutely agrees that Officer Carelli deserves a fair hearing, but he—and said, "Let the facts speak for themselves. But," he said, "did my father get a fair hearing? No, he (Carelli) played judge and executioner right then and there." And so, there’s been a back-and-forth between the union and the family.
More importantly, I had an interview with the niece of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., who was in the building the night of the incident, actually lived upstairs. And she gave new details of what had happened that night, that she had come down. Her mother had called her on the phone, because the mother, who was the sister of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., had received a call from the LifeAid company, that—and so the mother said, "Can you go downstairs and check on your uncle?" And when she went down the stairs in her pajamas, she saw the four police—five police standing in front of the door. And she said, "I’m his niece." And they totally ignored her. When she ran back upstairs to get a coat to cover her pajamas, she came back down, and now, she says, the police had their guns drawn. All the while, she said, her uncle kept yelling, "I’m OK. I didn’t call you. Please leave me alone." But the police continued to ignore her.
Most importantly, she called her mother on the cell phone, and the mother then asked to speak with one of the policemen. So the sister of Chamberlain actually spoke with one of the policemen on the phone. Still, they did not seek any kind of family intervention to try to help defuse the situation. And then it was sometime later that the niece, Tonyia Greenhill, heard two booms, and she asked one of the firemen at the time, she said, "Have they shot my uncle?" And a few moments later, the medics pulled his body out in the stretcher and rushed to the hospital, where he died later. So that it’s clear that the—if the police had sought to defuse the situation, they could have asked some of the relatives to intercede or try to talk to Mr. Chamberlain in his house before taking off the door and bursting in with the tasers and eventually shooting him.
AMY GOODMAN: And for people who want to see a full discussion of what took place, with Kenneth Chamberlain Jr., we had him on our broadcast yesterday as well as last Thursday, as well as his attorneys. And the reason they know as much as they do about what took place on that fateful night, on November 19th, 2011, is because the LifeAid company, that has a box in his father’s apartment so they could talk to him if there was a problem, if the medical alert pendant went off, also not only sends all audio back to the LifeAid’s offices, but records everything that took place. Also, on the taser gun was a video, until they turned it off before they killed Kenneth Chamberlain Sr.
On that audio tape, which Kenneth Chamberlain Jr. and also his lawyers have been able to listen to, though it hasn’t been released publicly and they are calling for that, they hear one of the people outside, one of the officers, refer to Kenneth Chamberlain as a racial epithet. They also hear when he says—when he says, "It is clear that the police are going to kill me," and you hear this on the audiotape, "Semper fi," because he was a Marine. He was also a retired corrections officer. The officers outside saying, "Hoorah, hoorah," mocking him. That is when Ken Chamberlain Jr., on Democracy Now!, broke down, saying, "mocking my father’s military service to his country." There is a grand jury that’s been convened.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes, the grand jury is expected to begin hearing testimony next week. And, of course, we also revealed in the Daily News that the same officer, Anthony Carelli, who fired the fatal shots, is about to go to trial in a separate federal civil rights complaint case, a $10 million complaint, over his alleged beating of two young Jordanian men during an arrest in 2008.
AMY GOODMAN: Jordanian-American men.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Jordanian-American men, where he called—according to them, he called them "rag heads" as he beat them in the White Plains police headquarters.
AMY GOODMAN: And so, that’s a $10 million lawsuit that’s going forward at the same time as this grand jury hearing.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Right, and that comes to trial, starts—the trial starts April 23rd.
AMY GOODMAN: So, Trayvon Martin, the grand jury investigation into his death is April 10th. The grand jury investigation into the death of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. is April 11th. And the civil rights lawsuit trial will take place against White Plains Police Officer Anthony Carelli, who shot Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. dead in this call to his home for a medical emergency, will begin on April 23rd.
JUAN GONZALEZ: April 23rd, that’s correct.
AMY GOODMAN: We will continue to follow these cases, and you can go to our website, democracynow.org, for all of the details.
This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. When we come back, we’ll find out about the sentencing of one of the leading arms traffickers in the world, Viktor Bout. Why wasn’t he convicted and sentenced for arms trafficking? We’ll talk about that in a minute.