The family of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. is looking to hold White Plains accountable for fatally shooting the 68-year-old retired Marine on Nov. 19, with a $21 million lawsuit.
The family’s lawyers announced the federal civil rights lawsuit at a press conference Monday morning at a U.S. Courthouse in Manhattan.
According to LoHud.com, the lawsuit was filed against the , the , and eight city police officer—who were on the scene when police .
Randolph McLaughlin, one of the family's lawyers, said in a video of the press conference posted by LoHud.com that the suit charges that the City, police department and housing authority failed to ensure that the constitutional rights of Chamberlain and other minority groups living at the Winbrook Housing complex were not violated by allowing three members of the department’s community policing unit—who were all involved in separate pending lawsuits that alleged police brutality and racism—to continue to work in the neighborhood.
The family's lawyer say that Chamberlain, who had a heart conditition, accidently set off his medical alert device and that police should have obeyed his request to leave after he told police he did not need any assistance. They say that police actions directly lead to Chamberlain’s death, since police escalated the situation by calling him a “nigger” and forcing their way into his apartment.
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“The fourth amendment protects us in our homes, it’s the right to be secure in our homes under the federal constitution,” said McLaughlin, in the video. “He was secure in his home until the agents of White Plains brutally broke down his door and entered his apartment and killed him.”
Click here to watch the video and read the story on LoHud.com
Police say they had to visibly see if Chamberlain was OK and whether there was anyone else in the apartment, as Chamberlain—who police believed to be mentally disturbed, and was legally intoxicated at the time—was talking to other people in his apartment, including President Barack Obama.
Police, who were aware of Chamberlain’s criminal history and had visited his apartment before, said they had to taser him, shoot him twice with a bean bag round then fatally shoot him—since he kept trying to attack police with knives as they forced their way into his apartment.
Click here for our full coverage of the Chamberlain case.
Chamberlain’s son, Kenneth Chamberlain Jr. said at the press conference that his family didn’t ask for this, and that the filing of the suit is another attempt on the family’s behalf to hold the City accountable since Westchester County District Attorney Janet Fiore failed to indict city police in his father’s death two months ago.
Chamberlain Jr. said he is hopeful that the U.S. District Attorney’s office, which is currently investigating the matter, will come back with a federal indictment.