Autopsy in White Plains Shooting Disputes Police Account: Lawyer

An autopsy shows 68-year-old Kenneth Chamberlain died from a single bullet to the right arm that ended up puncturing both lungs

Tuesday, Apr 10, 2012  |  Updated 10:28 AM EDT
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Fatal Shooting of NY Man Could Go to Grand Jury

What really happened to Kenneth Chamberlain Sr.? Police claim they shot the 68-year-old man in self-defense when he attacked them with a hatchet and a knife -- but since that happened four months ago, more and more evidence has been poking holes in the officers' story. Roseanne Colletti spoke with Chamberlain's son, who wants justice for his father.
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The 68-year-old former marine shot by White Plains police officers sent to his apartment to help him with a medical issue died from a bullet that went into his right arm and punctured both lungs, according to an autopsy obtained by the Daily News

An attorney for Kenneth Chamberlain's family told the paper the autopsy disputes officers' account that the retired corrections officer had approached police with a butcher knife the November night cops showed up to assist him. Police have said they fired two shots at Chamberlain in self-defense.

Attorneys for Anthony Carelli, the officer identified as the shooter, say the shooting was justified and that their client will testify before a grand jury. 

Chamberlain lawyer Randolph McLaughlin told the News that in order for the fatal bullet to enter Chamberlain's right arm the way the autopsy said it did -- 4 1/2 inches from his right shoulder -- and pass "in a straight line" into his lungs, Chamberlain's right arm would've had to be at his side at the time of impact. 

Since he was right-handed and the shot came from the side, Chamberlain could not have been holding a knife when he was shot, McLaughlin said. The autopsy does not offer any opinion on whether Chamberlain had been holding anything when he was shot. 

It's not clear from the News article if McLaughlin had been asked whether Chamberlain could have been holding the knife in his left hand, even though he was right-handed. 

The autopsy was conducted two days after the deadly incident. 

On Nov. 19, police were dispatched to the Winbrook Houses public housing project to aid  Chamberlain, a chronically ill heart patient. Chamberlain apparently had accidentally triggered his medical alert pendant, and when the responding officers banged on his door, he told them he was OK and refused to let them in. 

But then Chamberlain and the police became engaged in an hour-long standoff, and the officers eventually forced open the door, fearing someone else inside was in danger, according to police. 

Kenneth Chamberlain Jr., son of the retired corrections officer, said the officers then used a Taser on his father for no reason, "shot him with a bean bag gun four times and then fired two fatal shots." 

No one has been charged in Chamberlain's death. A grand jury inquiry is expected this week.

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