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Report Blasts Review of WPPD; Calls Justification of Chamberlain Shooting 'Chilling'

Responding to a third-part review funded by the City of White Plains that called the shooting of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. "justified", a criminal justice professor submitted his own analyzation of the department.

Calling the third-party analysis of the White Plains Police Department released this fall "ridiculous" and "an embarrassment", a representative of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America (BLEA) submitted a new review Monday telling a different story.

Damon Jones, a local representative of BLEA, submitted the report to the White Plains Common Council Monday night. The report, written by Jimmy Bell, of the Department of Criminal Justice and Sociology at Jackson State University, is a brief review of the 83-page report funded by the City of White Plains that promised a "top-to-bottom" review of the City's police department.

Bell's report claims the City's analyzation doesn't address the WPPD's violation of its own mission statement the morning Chamberlain Sr. was shot. He also claims the department's operating procedures lack a clear policy for officers dealing with people who are emotionally disturbed. 

"In essence, the tapes clearly revealed that the White Plains police acted with reckless abandonment and demonstrated a chilling disregard for the quality and sanctity of the life of Mr. Kenneth Chamberlain," Bell wrote.

The City of White Plains released its third-party review of the White Plains Police Department in October. In the report, a panel of law enforcement experts made few recommendations for change, focusing mostly on equipment that should have been available to officers the morning of the shooting.

Professor Michael Walker, one of the committee members, states in the report that the shooting of Chamberlain Sr. was "totally justified and took place only after negotiations and all non-lethal means were unsuccessful and Mr. Chamberlain came at a police sergeant with a knife."

Jones called the report an embarrassment to the City of White Plains Monday, saying only 11 paragraphs of the report deal with the shooting of Chamberlain Sr., while the rest is just "copy and past".

"For the taxpayers to pay $25,000 for that report, it's a shame," Jones said.

While drawing no direct conclusions as to whether or not the shooting of Chamberlain Sr. was justified, Bell's report questions how well officers in White Plains are trained to deal with people who are emotionally disturbed. The report concludes with a series of questions Bell said should be analyzed by the city.

While presenting the Bell's report Monday, Jones added that committee members never spoke with members of the community while submitting their report and that many of the questions White Plains residents have about the training and policies of the police department remain unanswered.

"They didn't talk to anybody," Jones said. "They didn't talk to the average person out walking on the streets to see if their police officers were doing their jobs."

"There are certain questions that should be asked."

White Plains police officer Anthony Carelli shot Chamberlain Sr. while police responded to an early morning medical call from Chamberlain's apartment on Nov. 19, 2011. 

Police broke down the door to Chamberlain's apartment in the Winbrook Housing complex and shot Tasers and beanbags at the 68-year-old before Carelli fired two shots, according to court records.

Police say they had to visibly see if Chamberlain was safe and whether there was anyone else in the apartment. Police also believed Chamberlain was mentally disturbed at the time. Autopsies later showed Chamberlain was legally intoxicated.

Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore announced earlier this year that a grand jury failed to indict any of the officers involved in the shooting. Protestors have since led demonstrations calling for justice in the shooting. The Chamberlain family has also filed a $21 million federal lawsuit.

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