May 4, 2012

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – No criminal charges will be filed in the fatal police shooting of a 68-year-old ex-Marine killed in his White Plains apartment.

A grand jury found no reasonable cause to vote for an indictment in the Nov. 16 killing of Kenneth Chamberlain, Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore said Thursday.
The incident started when Chamberlain’s medical alert pendant accidentally went off and police went to his apartment.

Police spent more than an hour at Chamberlain’s door, but he refused to open up, CBS 2′s Tony Aiello reported.

Family members said Chamberlain told officers he was OK, but they insisted on seeing him. Police took the door off and, they said, Chamberlain came at them with a cleaver and a knife.

The grand jury heard from officers who said Chamberlain “slashed at the officers” with the weapons as they tried to open the door. Officers also said Chamberlain was disturbed — shouting — “They got a shotgun here to shoot me, Mr. President. Send me some Marines. Anybody who comes through that door is gonna die,” Aiello reported.

“We did everything we could and should do to put before that grand jury every piece of relevant and admissible evidence,” DiFiore told reporters on Thursday.

But Randolph McLaughlin, the lawyer for Chamberlain’s family, said the family is outraged that an officer can be heard in a recording shouting the “N-word” before Chamberlain was fatally shot twice by Officer Anthony Carelli.

Comparing this case to the racially charged Trayvon Martin shooting, McLaughlin said, “I guess it’s easier to indict a vigilante in Florida than to get a cop indicted in this county.  That’s an outrage!”
DiFiore said the use of the “N-Word” was intolerable and “should never ever be condoned or ignored,” Aiello reported. The police department assured her it will order a “top to bottom” review over the use of the epithet, as well as its policies on the use of force regarding emotionally disturbed individuals.

She also said uttering the epithet was not deemed criminal.

“The use of a racial epithet in any context is offensive to the dignity of all of us,” she said, adding that when it is used by a police officer “it’s intolerable.”

Both officers have civil cases pending against them. Police have said that the deadly force was justified.

 In an unusual move, police released all their investigative material – reports and recordings- and promised a thorough review of police procedures in the wake of what all agree was a tragedy, Aiello reported.

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