As you guys know, my blog posts are typically about personal experiences, things I am dealing with and need to process, lessons others can learn, etc. This blog is one where I will discuss a movie I saw on HBO about a true story I had never heard of before. It caught my attention when it said true story, even though I was in the mood for a horror movie to play in the background while I worked on a paid book review I needed to complete.
I work better when I am doing two things at a time. I am not sure, but I think it relates to my AHD and PTSD. Anyways let’s not get ourselves sidetracked now. We are here for the true story of Kenneth Chamberlain. The movie can be found on HBO. It is called The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain, if you can check it out. It is not based on assumptions. They have the whole entire scenario recorded thanks to the medical alert company.
This poor 77-year-old African American man accidentally triggered his medical alert around 5:22 am, and they attempted to reach out to make sure he was okay. The medical alert communication box was in another room, and Mr. Chamberlain did not hear them, so the medical alert company dispatched the police for a medical alert. The police woke Mr. Chamberlain out of his sleep by banging on his door loudly. This will be the beginning of his last few hours, an hour and twenty-two minutes since his death was at 7:00 am
When woken by the NYPD, Mr. Chaberlain, an ex-Marin, found himself confused and disoriented in his Whiteplains, NY, NY apartment. When they stated that someone had called in a medical alert, this confused Mr. Chamberlain since he did not make a call because he was asleep. He tries to explain that he has been sleeping and did not make a call to anyone; he’s alone, okay, there is no need for them to be at his door to please leave.
The police taunt him and even call him a N****r. For some reason, this hurts me to the core. I am not used to people saying that word to my loved ones or me. The way it was told to him, and the hatred behind it from a person meant to serve and protect cut me deep. I felt his pain, no longer feeling safe in his own home since the police refused to leave his door even when the medical alert attempted to contact the police for them to back down. The police responded that they are still making entries with no regard for Mr. Chamberlain and his heart condition, which was made known to them by his niece, who begged for his mental and medical needs for her uncle.
Did they back down? No, they did not. They made this personal since Mr. Chamberlain at one point goes to the door and cracks it open so they can see him, but because he closed it in their face. The police abused their power. When one officer attempted to stand up for Mr. Chamberlain, this officer was outnumbered and outranked by his supervisor.
The supervisor ordered the officer to stand down and keep the niece away along with the neighbors. Mr. Chamberlain’s niece and neighbors were begging for his life just for it to be taken the way it was. Then there was the issue of no convictions for his death. Even though the officers had complaints about the excessive force, they did not pay for Mr. Chamberlain’s death.
Mind you, the officers on the scene interrupted when the friendly officer standing up for Mr. Chamberlain almost made a trust with him and had him ready to let him in his place through his window. Right, when this peaceful ending could have made leeway, they show up, making Mr. Chamberlain paranoid and distrusting again. During all of this, he really was disoriented and struggling but knew his rights very well and kept making them known to the police, which fell on deaf ears.
His medical alert company should get acknowledged. They stayed with Mr. Chamberlain until he was brutally shot by the same police officer that called him a N***r when he attempted to break in his door. How is it even possible that an officer that has shown so much hostility throughout the whole interaction with the elderly ex-Marine can be allowed near the poor victim?
Why was this man on his back when Mr. Chamberlain was on the ground due to them tazing and shooting him with sandbags? I’m guessing. They don’t mention what the nonlethal shots were in the movie.
I cried so hard for Mr. Chamberlain and his children, that were constantly calling and trying to get to him, but he kept begging them to stay away. He told them he did not know what the police would do to them, so he wanted them to stay away. It was so hard to listen to these conversations knowing this man would not see his family again. He fought for this country and gets repaid by being another one of NYP’s Finest tragedies by shooting.
All because he did not want anyone to enter his domain, his safe place, much less a person or people that make him feel threatened. I fear for myself and my children every single day. I suffer from mental health, and two of my three children do as well, along with being high-functioning autistic. It is a scary world; we are afraid of always being misunderstood by others and, much more, others with authority. It takes away your sense of protection or humanity.
There is always a stigma when it comes to these stories or situations. This man clearly suffered from PTSD and possibly dementia due to the time he served in the Marines. If the officers dispatched to do a welfare check had been trained to deal with Mr. Chamberlain and his needs, then all of this could have been avoided, and he would probably be alive today. If they would’ve had taken the time to realize he was disorientated, not just saying things to say them. He was going through an episode, but apparently, he wasn’t worth the time.
I am writing this to release my feelings so I don’t carry them the rest of the day. I also feel that this story needs to be heard. How could the NYPD be allowed to break and enter a civilian’s apartment with no warrant or probable cause? They violated his rights as a US citizen and said his life was worth nothing, yet segregation ended years ago.
Did it really end, though?