A Federal judge has set a court date for September 13 to discuss a possible motion by the City of White Plains, New York. The city is asking Judge Cathy Seibel to set aside a $2.1 million wrongful death lawsuit filed against the city and city police in the death of Kenneth Chamberlain last year.
On November 19th, Chamberlain’s medical alert system went off, leading police to come to his home. Chamberlain, a former Marine, told the police that he was fine, but the officers persisted at his door and insisted he open up so they could check on him. Sources do not suggest that they had a warrant to demand this at the time.
According to police, Chamberlain became agitated and threatened to shoot the first person to enter his home. The police proceeded to break down the door, leading to a confrontation between them and the resident. Chamberlain attacked with a hatchet, and officers responded with force. They shot Chamberlain with nonlethal beanbag rounds, and when those weren’t sufficient, Chamberlain was shot and killed by officer Anthony Carelli.
In the days following the shooting, the city declined to bring charges against the officers who broke down a resident’s door without a warrant.
Further, there are some additional inconsistencies with the officers’ claims. Other witnesses say that officers were agitating Chamberlain, who suffered from delusions and drank heavily. Racial slurs were claimed to be used. The officers denied this, but officer Steven Hart was suspended from the police without pay last month for alleged use of a racial slur. He faces other, unspecified department charges as well.
In any event, attorneys for the plaintiffs in this case have argued that it is absurd to believe the city has a right to ask the case to be set aside following a warrantless invasion and shooting of a citizen of the city.