White Plains Cop Shooting of Elderly Black Man Will Go to Grand Jury
09 Apr, 2012
By Polly Kreisman
update: DA Spokesman Lucian Chaflin takes issue with the stories posted by Gothamist and the New York Daily News, which we linked to, below, saying:
“The DA had nothing to do with naming the Police Officer – He works for the White Plains PD and he is their employee and their decision (and policy).”
Chaflin also says he gave the New York Daily News six examples on Friday of prosecutions of police by the DA’s office over the last 3-4 years.
“There is no case that the FBI looked into before the DA’s office acted – I have no idea what that alludes to or who claims that, (and) I didnt confirm anything about the Police Officer’s name on Thursday after the News ran a story – the White Plains PD did – through the Commissioner.
The Westchester District Attorney’s Office has announced they will present the case of an unarmed chronically ill elderly black man who was shot to death by White Plains police, to a grand jury.
A reported 172,134 people have signed a petition urging the district attorney’s office to release audio and video of police’s Nov. 19 response to Chamberlain’s accidental trigger of his medical alert. The Chamberlain family says officers used a racial slur and expletives before forcing open the Winbrook Public Housing apartment door and shooting the 68-year-old former marine and corrections officer.
DA Janet DiFiore is getting criticized because of her initial reluctance to release the name of the officer who shot Marine veteran Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., White Plains Officer Anthony Carelli. “Janet DiFiore has continuously turned over investigations of questionable police actions of use of force back to the police department in question,” said Damon Jones, a New York rep for Blacks in Law Enforcement of America.
Spokesmen for the Westchester DA refuted those claims, pointing to a half dozen cop shooting cases the office has prosecuted in recent years—although there is controversy around those cases as well, including one in which critics say DiFiore’s office acted only after the FBI began investigating the case. Public Safety Commissioner David Chong told reporters that no evidence was hidden by either the cops or DA in Chamberlain’s case.
But Chamberlain’s family and lawyers say Carelli’s name was only released after investigation by newspapers forced the DA to confirm it, nearly five months after the shooting took place: “The name was uncovered as a result of thorough investigative reporting,” said Mayo Bartlett, the family’s attorney. “That’s very different then releasing the name. If they did release the name it would have given me a much better feeling. It was almost a game of hide and seek.”