Federal prosecutors have decided not to file criminal civil rights charges against a white police officer who killed an unarmed African American after the mentally ill man was taunted with racial slurs, tased and shot with a beanbag gun in an incident that began when the victim accidentally set off his medical-alert device.
Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. was a former Marine with heart problems, according to the New York Times. On Nov. 19, 2011, he somehow set off his medical device. When an emergency operator tried to talk to Chamberlain through a loudspeaker in his bedroom, he didn’t respond, so she called an ambulance. The White Plains, N.Y., Police Department followed the ambulance to Chamberlain’s home, where he answered the door.
He told the officers that everything was OK, but that wasn’t enough. The medical-device operator personally called the White Plains Police Department to cancel the emergency call, but that wasn’t enough, either. Chamberlain’s niece, who lived downstairs, asked the cops to let her speak to him, but they wouldn’t.
The cops insisted on coming in, so they tried to break down the door for over an hour. During that hour, the cops yelled at Chamberlain. They screamed for him to open the door. Chamberlain yelled through the door: “I’m a sick old man,” to which Officer Stephen Hart replied, “We don’t give a fuck, nigger!”
When the officers finally broke the door down, they shot the 68-year-old man with a Taser in the neck and abdomen. Then they shot him with a less-than-lethal beanbag from a shotgun. They hit him with a baton. Then one of the officers claimed that a 68-year-old man, who had already been shot with a Taser and a beanbag gun and couldn’t walk 40 feet without wheezing, attacked them with a knife. So the officer shot Kenneth Chamberlain in the chest.
For five months, the police refused to identify the officer who shot Chamberlain. When the name of the officer, Anthony Carelli, was finally identified, he insisted that Chamberlain was going to kill him with the butcher knife he was holding as he charged at the officer. Even after the information came out that Carelli was facing a $10 million lawsuit for beating two brothers and calling them “rag heads,” the Police Department, the police union and Carelli stuck with the story. They stuck by the story even when the autopsy showed that Chamberlain wasn’t even facing the officer. They stuck by the story even when the coroner said that Chamberlain couldn’t have been holding a knife. Carelli stuck by his story even after it was proved that Chamberlain’s hands were at his side when he was shot.
And Anthony Carelli got away with it.
He didn’t go to trial. A grand jury refused to indict the officers. A federal jury rejected a civil suit against Carelli and the city of White Plains in 2016 after the judge refused to allow evidence of the racial slurs or Carelli’s past. Now Joon Kim, who replaced U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara when he was fired by President Donald Trump after refusing to resign, has announced that no civil rights charges will be filed, according to the Associated Press.
In a statement announcing his reasoning for closing the case, Kim said:
“Officer Carelli believed that Sergeant Martin was in danger of being seriously injured by Mr. Chamberlain.
The investigation revealed no evidence to refute Officer Carelli’s testimony that he shot Mr. Chamberlain in response to his belief that Sergeant Martin was in danger of being seriously physically injured by Mr. Chamberlain.”
That’s the Justice Department’s reason for closing the case. Because it is OK to shoot someone as long as—despite all the evidence to the contrary—you believe that he or she poses a danger, you can murder that person in cold blood. That is the 2018, Jeff Sessions-Donald Trump version of “justice.”
I believe that is some bullshit.
Read more at U.S. News & World Report.