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If You Call Cops For Help With A Mentally Ill Family Member: They Might Kill Them — and YOU Too - 18 Stories

18 Stories on the Killing and Brutalization of the Mentally Ill by Law Enforcement
Compiled by Ronald David Jackson

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Chicago police kill emotionally disturbed college student and 55-year-old mother

Family and friends of Bettie Jones and Quintonio LeGrier, who were both shot and killed by Chicago police yesterday held a press conference on Sunday, Dec. 27 (Screen capture from video)

A Chicago police officer arriving at the scene of a domestic disturbance fatally shot two people on Saturday, including a 55-year-old mother of five who authorities said was “accidentally struck and tragically killed.”

In a statement released Saturday offering scant detail, Chicago police said they “were confronted by a combative subject”that resulted in “the discharging of the officer’s weapon.”

But the families of Bettie Jones, who had just hosted relatives for Christmas, and Quintonio LeGrier, 19, a college student home for holiday break, say police violently overreacted to a controllable situation, according to CBS-affiliate WBBM-TV.

Both individuals were pronounced dead at hospitals within an hour of being shot, according to the Associated Press.

“He wasn’t just a thug on the street, he was an honor student in college and high school,” LeGrier’s mother, Janet Cooksey, told WBBM-TV. “Seven bullets were put in my son. Seven.”

“Eight shots were fired,” she added tearfully. “One hit an innocent lady who was just opening her door. Something is wrong with this picture.”

The deaths arrive while the Chicago Police Department is being scrutinized by the Justice Department, which has opened a wide-ranging investigation into whether the department’s practices contribute to civil rights violations. The investigation was launched after the release of video last month showing white officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old Laquan Macdonald, who was black. The footage led to murder charges for Van Dyke and the resignation of the city’s police chief.

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Cop Who Murdered Mentally Ill Man In Front of His Mother for Fiddling With a Screwdriver Won't Even Face a Trial

A grand jury is yet again manipulated by a racist prosecutor and decides that a murderer cop will not even get indicted for murdering a mentally ill man. The mother of the victim called cops for help getting her son to the hospital -- Her son was shot within five seconds of coming to the door while fiddling with a screwdriver

The mother who called cops to help her take her mentally ill son (left) to the hospital appears relieved when the cops  knocked on her door.  Several seconds later her son was dead after getting shot by the cops who were supposed to be  there to help. (Screen capture from video)
The mother who called cops to help her take her mentally ill son (left) to the hospital appears relieved when the cops
knocked on her door.  Several seconds later her son was dead after getting shot by the cops who were supposed to be
there to help. (Screen capture from video)

By Josie Wales
A grand jury has decided not to indict two officers who fatally shot a mentally ill man after his mother called the police for help getting her schizophrenic son, 39-year old Jason Harrison, to the hospital.

Officers John Rogers and Andrew Hutchins responded to the call placed last June, arriving to find the mother calmly greet them at the door. Body cam footage from one of the officers shows her explain to the officers that her son was schizophrenic and rambling, at which point he appears behind her in the doorway, playing with a screwdriver.

Upon seeing the man, one officer yells for him to drop the screwdriver, giving him only 5 seconds to reply before the cops opened fire. Harrison was shot five times, taking two of the bullets in his back as he collapsed into the garage door. He died only a few feet away from his mother as she yelled, “Oh, they killed my son! Oh, they killed my son!”

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Cops Shoot the Wrong Woman When Called for Help — Then Kill Her Mom (Lawsuit)

If you have a mentally ill relative — Calling the police for help may well get that relative or you killed.

Sparks Police Chief Brian Allen holds a press conference to justify the shooting about the police killing of  Monica Ritchey, 45, and the shooting of her daughter, Darcie Latham.
Sparks Police Chief Brian Allen holds a press conference to justify the police killing of
Monica Ritchey, 45, and the shooting of her daughter, Darcie Latham.

Sparks, Nev. police answering a call about a suicidal woman shot the woman's daughter by mistake, then killed the mother, and the daughter wants them to pay for it.

Darcie Latham sued Sparks, its Police Department and three officers in Federal Court Wednesday, accusing them of shooting her in the upper leg, then killing her suicidal mother, whom police thought had a gun.
RELATED STORY: Cops Find A Way To Justify Murder of Mentally Ill Man and Let Killer Cops Go Free — Despite Unjustified Procedures
Latham, 27, says she and her sister were checking on their mother, Monica Ritchey, at her home in Sparks after 2 p.m. on Oct. 13, 2013, when their mother held a gun to her own head and threatened to shoot herself if her daughters got any closer.

Latham called 911 and says defendant Officers Chad Mowbray, Ryan Simpson and Sgt. Michael Keating responded, incorrectly identified her as her mother and shot her.

Latham says she told the police dispatcher she was with her sister outside and that her mother was armed, threatened to kill herself, fired rounds into the air, was depressed and on pain medication, and threatened to shoot herself if police showed up.
RELATED STORY: Cops Fired For Abusing A Mentally Disabled Woman With a Taser - Shocked Her Many Times Without Giving Her A Chance to Comply
The dispatcher told Sparks police that Latham and her sister were outside their mother's home, and Mowbray deployed an AR-15 rifle when he arrived and stayed at his car, Latham says in the complaint.

Latham says she was backing up while holding a phone to her ear with one hand and held the other over her head when Mowbray shot her.
RELATED STORY: Cop Who Murdered Mentally Ill Man In Front of His Mother for Fiddling With a Screwdriver Won't Even Face a Trial
She says that either Simpson or Keating said over the radio that Ritchey had pointed a gun at them and told Mowbray to "take the shot," which he did after confirming the order. He shot Latham - not her mother.

Latham was maimed and suffers from permanent neurological injuries.

Washoe County District Attorney Dick Gammick investigated and in August 2014 said the officers were justified in shooting and killing Ritchey and wounding Latham, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported. Gammick said in his report that Mowbray had "reasonable belief" that his fellow officers were in "imminent danger of being shot" by Latham, the newspaper reported.

After Mowbray shot Latham in the leg, other officers thought Ritchey had fired the shot, and Keating shot and killed her, according to the Gazette-Journal.

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Mentally Ill Man Gets Eye Ripped Out By A Psychotic Prison Guard — An Honest Guard Got Fired For Exposing the Abuse

A whistleblowing guard, John Pisciotta, was fired from his job the day a psychotic guard was convicted of deliberately yanking out a mentally ill prisoner's eyeball. If you wanted to know why honest law enforcement officers seldom stand up to their brutal colleagues — it's because their fellow officers and commanders will usually punish them.

John Pisciotta (top left) told the truth about the sadistic, roid-raging prison guard William Wilson (top right). The bottom photo shows how honest law enforcement officers are treated by their fellow "officers."
John Pisciotta (top left) told the truth about the sadistic, roid-raging
prison guard William Wilson (top right). The bottom photo shows how
honest law enforcement officers are treated by their fellow "officers."
A Florida prison guard was fired after exposing a fellow corrections officer who gouged out a mentally ill inmate’s eye.

Whistleblower John Pisciotta, who witnessed the sickening attack, learned he’d lost his job on the same day his brutal colleague was convicted on federal charges, the Miami Herald reported.

“I knew once I did the right thing and I stepped forward... my career would be over,” Pisciotta told jurors during the 2009 trial. “It’s something you don’t do. You don’t go against other officers, because my life has been a living hell ever since.”

Pisciotta, who grew up in Long Island, was part of an “extraction team” assigned in 2008 to pull inmate Kelly Bradley from his cell in the psych ward of Charlotte Correctional Facility.

The schizophrenic prisoner had used his mattress to barricade himself in, and a veteran supervisor sent the officers to remove him.

“This inmate was cowering under a blanket in the corner of his cell,” Pisciotta told the Miami Herald. “He was an older man, very frail and mentally ill. He wasn’t trying to fight anybody. He was just scared. He was no threat to anyone.”

A muscle-bound officer, William Hamilton Wilson, jammed his finger into Bradley’s eye, “digging and digging” until he popped it out of the socket, Pisciotta testified.

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Mentally Ill Homeless Veteran Was Allowed To 'Bake To Death' in an Overheated Jail Cell — His Parents Sue

Jerome Murdough. (Screen capture from YouTube video)
Jerome Murdough. (Screen capture from YouTube video)
Murdough’s mother, Alma Murdough, says of her homeless veteran son, who died in his 100-degree cell, ‘I saw a picture of him with his mouth open, which gives me the impression that he was howling for help.’

By Taylor Hintz , Corky Siemaszko
The heartbroken mom of the Rikers Island inmate who baked to death in a sweltering cell is suing the city for $25 million.

Jerome Murdough’s lawyer announced the filing of the notice of claim on Friday.

“I saw a picture of him with his mouth open, which gives me the impression that he was howling for help, and no one came, and that really tears me up," 75-year-old Alma Murdough said with tears in her eyes.

Her lawyer, Derek Sells, blamed bumbling corrections officers for the 56-year-old Marine’s death.

“Had the correction officers who were responsible for his care followed their job, he wouldn’t be dead today,” said Derek Sells of The Cochran Firm.

Murdough, a homeless veteran who suffered from mental illness, was arrested on Feb. 7 on trespassing charges.
Unable to make the $2,500 bail, Murdough was sent to Rikers and died Feb. 15 in a 100-degree cell that records showed was supposed to be repaired...

Four hours after finding him dead, Murdough's internal body temperature still registered at 103 degrees, Sells said.

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Cop Executes Distubed Man in His Underwear Who 'Had A Broom' (Video)

"Officer" Officer Eddo Trimino executes 25-year-old mentally distubed Lavall Hall. "Officers" were heard mocking his mother's pleas not to shoot.It was Trimino's second killing in two years. (Screen capture from video)
"Officer" Officer Eddo Trimino executes 25-year-old mentally distubed Lavall Hall. "Officers" were heard mocking his mother's pleas not to shoot. It was Trimino's second killing in two years. (Screen capture from video)

By Cassandra Fairbanks
The family of Lavall Hall, a 25-year-old mentally ill man killed by Miami Gardens Officer Eddo Trimino, chose to release dashcam footage of the February 15 incident on Wednesday evening. They maintain that it proves excessive force and that Trimino had no reason to leave an 8-year-old girl without a father. This is the second killing by the officer in two years.

Hall was schizophrenic and was having an episode on the night of February 15. His mother had looked out the door and saw him on the sidewalk holding a red broom.

“I said, baby come inside, it’s cold out there,” she said during a press conference.

Unable to get him in the house, his mother called 9-1-1 for assistance to get her son back to the hospital, as he had only been released one week prior. She says that the police were aware of her son’s condition as they had responded to calls for medical assistance at her home in the past, and that she repeatedly told the officers that he was schizophrenic and bipolar on this evening.
“Don’t hurt my child,” the mother asked the officers before the encounter. The officers were heard mocking her plea in the video.
The department claims that Hall attacked officers with the broomstick and that two officers had fired tasers at him which were ineffective. The family maintains that this was a murder and that the police had no intention of leaving the scene with him alive.

In the video, the officer is heard screaming “get on the f—ing ground or you’re dead.” He then fires his service weapon pointed slightly downwards four times, then moving closer for a fifth shot.

Hall is not seen in the frame. After repeatedly shooting Hall, the officer callously screams at the fatally injured man to put his hands behind his back.
“I was outraged, furious, devastated and very emotional. They killed him, murdered him,” Melissa Edwards, the mother of Hall’s 8-year-old daughter stated.
Witnesses have publicly stated that Hall did not have the broom in his hand when he was gunned down.
“When I look he ain’t have nothing in his hand,” Hall’s next-door neighbor Tyrone Bennett told WLRN. “He had on boxers and a undershirt.”
Gregorio Marmolejo, also told reporters that he saw Hall’s body on the ground after he was shot, but did not see a broom.

The family and their attorneys gave a press conference prior to releasing the footage. They have stressed that while Hall was black, they prefer to focus on police lack of care or proper training when handling situations involving the mentally ill.A lawyer for the family alleges that ever since the Chief of Police was recently caught soliciting a prostitute and fired from the department, they have received no updates on the case. They no longer know who is even in charge of it. They also believe there is more footage that the department is withholding.

This story was originally published April 9, 2015

Reprinted with permission from  Free Thought Project


Brute Force is the 'Treatment' of Choice In US Prisons When it comes to the Mentally Ill

By Kanya D'Almeida
They called it the "shoe leather treatment" because that was exactly what it was: 10 or 11 guards, sometimes more, would form a circle around the patient and kick him unconscious. Then they'd drag him across the room, strip him naked and throw him in a tiny room with just one window to allow in the snow, and leave him there to freeze.

That was in 1961 in Pennsylvania's Farview State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.

Twenty years later, the routine abuse that took place there became the subject of a memoir by Bill Thomas who survived 10 years in that institution before breaking out and eventually testifying before a Special State Senate Committee Inquiry on the practices of administrators, guards and even doctors at Farview State Hospital.

The facility has since been closed down, as were thousands of others like it during the wave of "deinstitutionalization" in the 1960s and '70s. Some state mental hospitals remain, but they are much less prevalent than they once were.

However, the shoe leather treatment lives on in jails and prisons around the country, which have become surrogate institutions for people with mental illnesses and where violence, neglect and abuse of prisoners labeled with psychiatric disabilities is on the rise.

Callous and Cruel

There is no hard data nationwide on the use of force against people diagnosed with mental illness, but a new report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) released at the end of May documents, for the first time, the extent of the problem across the approximately 5,100 jails and prisons in the United States.

"We have no data to make any kind of statistical assertion on the issue," Jamie Fellner, senior adviser to the US program at HRW and author of the report, explained to Truthout, "but it is fair to assume that it happens in every state, and that it exists in small and large jails, and in small and large prison systems."

Entitled "Callous and Cruel," the research confirms what news items, court cases and personal anecdotes have been suggesting for years: that corrections officers nationwide systematically assault prisoners living with psychiatric disabilities with chemical sprays, strap them down for days on end, shock them with electric stun devices, fling them into isolation and leave them with burned skin, broken bones or damaged organs from beatings.


Callous and Cruel
Use of Force Against Inmates With Mental Disabilities in US Jails and Prisons


In their very architecture, prisons are highly regimented places; the inability of prisoners with psychiatric disorders to immediately and unquestioningly respond to the endless orders and routines that dictate prison life means they are frequently at the receiving end of excessive force.

HRW estimates that 58 percent of state prisoners nationwide with a diagnosed mental illness have been charged with rule violations, compared to 43 percent of prisoners who were not diagnosed with mental disabilities.

These "violations" usually involve issues related to their disabilities or altered states of consciousness: paranoia, self-harm, hallucinations or delusions. Prison records document mentally ill prisoners screaming incessantly to drown out the voices in their heads, inserting sharp objects into their penises and smearing feces on the walls. A serious dearth of comprehensive policies guiding the use of force in thousands of institutions that comprise the US prison archipelago means that guards with no psychiatric experience are free to exert extreme punishment for even the most minor offense.

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Cops Fired For Abusing A Mentally Disabled Woman With a Taser: Shocked Her Many Times Without Giving Her A Chance to Comply

The sadistic cops were fired and face a year in jail, and the city of Marion has been hit with a lawsuit seeking $2 million in damages

Police officers Eric Walters and Franklin Brown

By Travis Gettys
Two former South Carolina police officers could spend at least a year in prison for repeatedly shocking a mentally disabled woman with a Taser without giving her time to comply with their orders.

Federal prosecutors are recommending prison for Eric Walters and Franklin Brown when they are sentenced Monday after pleading guilty in October to deprivation of rights under color of law, reported the Associated Press.

Walters encountered 40-year-old Melissa Davis during an April 2013 patrol in Marion, when he spotted her leaving the yard of a home for sale and suspected she might have broken into it.

The officer asked Davis what she was doing and then shocked her with a Taser, court records show.

Walters ordered the woman to place her hands behind her back after she fell to the ground and then shocked her four more times before she had time to comply, prosecutors said.

Brown arrived at that point to provide backup, but Walters had determined that Davis had done nothing wrong and was removing the Taser probes from her back.

But Brown noticed one of the woman’s hands slip from the handcuffs – which Walters had applied improperly – and shocked Davis three more times until she rolled over to be handcuffed again.

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Woman Tasered to Death by Deputies While She was Cuffed, Shackled, and Masked

Natasha McKenna's graduation photo.  (Courtesy of Natasha McKenna's family)
Natasha McKenna's graduation photo.
(Courtesy of Natasha McKenna's family)
By Tom Jackman and Justin Jouvenal
A mentally ill woman who died after a stun gun was used on her at the Fairfax County jail in February was restrained with handcuffs behind her back, leg shackles and a mask when a sheriff’s deputy shocked her four times, incident reports obtained by The Washington Post show.

Natasha McKenna initially cooperated with deputies, placed her hands through her cell door food slot and agreed to be handcuffed, the reports show. But McKenna, whose deteriorating mental state had caused Fairfax to seek help for her, then began trying to fight her way out of the cuffs, repeatedly screaming, “You promised you wouldn’t hurt me!” the reports show.

Then, six members of the Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team, dressed in white full-body biohazard suits and gas masks, arrived and placed a wildly struggling 130-pound McKenna into full restraints, their reports state. But when McKenna wouldn’t bend her knees so she could be placed into a wheeled restraint chair, a lieutenant delivered four 50,000-volt shocks from the Taser, enabling the other deputies to strap her into the chair, the reports show.

[Va. inmate had been restrained, fitted with anti-spitting mask before death]

The account comes from dozens of pages of sheriff’s deputy incident reports that provide the first complete account of the events leading to the death of the 37-year-old Alexandria mother that has troubled her family and local mental health advocates.

Fairfax County Sheriff Stacey Kincaid declined to comment on the case but defended the use of a stun gun on a restrained prisoner, saying it was “a means that is often useful to ensure the safety of a person” rather than using physical force to gain compliance. She said stun guns were used “occasionally” on prisoners who are already restrained.

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Another Unarmed Man Shot Dead By Cop — This Time In Atlanta: The Victim Was Mentally Disturbed and Naked

Apparently the "terrified officer" felt his life was threatened by the man's nudity. Or perhaps the cop believed the victim was carrying an invisible gun.

Anthony Hill: Killed for losing his mind and walking toward a cop while naked.
Anthony Hill: Killed for losing his mind and walking toward a cop while naked.

Georgia Investigators Look Into Police Shooting of Naked, Unarmed Man

By Richard Fausset
A witness to the fatal police shooting of a naked, unarmed man here said Tuesday that the man had approached the officer with his hands in the air, prompting the frightened officer to shoot at close range with a handgun.

The witness, Pedro Castillo, 43, is a maintenance man at the Heights at Chamblee, the apartment complex northeast of Atlanta where Anthony Hill, 27, was shot and killed Monday afternoon. Mr. Castillo, speaking Spanish, said that Mr. Hill, a black man, had seemed out of sorts. He was naked and on all fours in the parking lot when the police officer, who is white, arrived in his squad car, parking a good distance away. Mr. Castillo said.

When Mr. Hill saw the officer, Mr. Castillo said, he stood up and moved toward him with his hands raised, and the officer, obviously frightened, yelled for him to stop. Mr. Castillo said that he had not seen a scuffle, but that he did see the officer pull out the handgun and shoot Mr. Hill.

In a news conference on Monday, Cedric L. Alexander, the DeKalb County deputy chief operating officer for public safety, said the officer had had a Taser at the time. He said he did not know whether the officer had used it.

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NYC Police Beat Handcuffed, Mentally Ill Man Inside of Police Station — They Wouldn't Quit Until They Were Stopped By Ambulance Workers

By ,
Two FDNY EMTs who had to intervene to stop four police officers beating a handcuffed patient on a stretcher have turned the cops in to authorities, the Daily News has learned.

The emotionally disturbed patient was punched multiple times in the face by the cops on July 20, according to FDNY documents obtained by The News. The cops only stopped when the EMTs bodily intervened, the report said.

The violence broke out when the patient spit at the Emergency Service Unit officers and swore at them. The officers responded by hitting him in the face, hauling him off the stretcher to the ground and then tossing him back on the stretcher, the EMTs said in written statements submitted to the FDNY.

"Pt. came out of the cell in cuffs. Pt. became combative with PD and (was) put on our stretcher," wrote one EMT in the Unusual Occurrence Report filed with FDNY brass.

"Pt. was struck in the face by an officer ... pt. spit in the face of an officer, whereupon the officer punched the pt. in the face multiple times," the report said.

When the patient spit at the cop again, more cops started beating him, the EMT said.

"Three cops began to punch the patient in the face, EMS (had) to get in the middle of it to intervene. Pt's. wounds and injuries cleaned in the (ambulance)," the report said.

Read More

The mentally ill homeless man pulled out a tiny pocket knife to protect himself from a lunging police dog. The cops didn't bother trying to use their tasers — They were anxious to use their guns to shoot somebody. That was two years ago. Barack Obama's Justice Department found no "sufficient evidence of willful misconduct."—Ronald David Jackson

The video was released two years after the incident by the ACLU. (Screen capture from video)
The video was released two years after the incident by the ACLU. (Screen capture from video)

Lauren Walker
On a quiet Sunday in July 2012 in broad daylight, six police officers in Michigan repeatedly shot an African-American man struggling with homelessness and mental illness. While the killing of Milton Hall prompted local outrage and a federal investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice announced in February that it failed to find “sufficient evidence of willful misconduct” to prosecute the policemen.

This Monday, more than two years later, the ACLU released footage obtained from the Hall family’s lawyers and used it as part of its testimony before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, an organ of the Organization of American States, in order to put pressure on the federal government. While a bystander video was shown on CNN shortly after the shooting, the newly released dashcam video shows the incident with unprecedented detail.

In the video, Hall, 49, is seen standing in a Saginaw, Michigan, parking lot surrounded by eight police officers with their guns drawn and pointed at him. During the short stand-off, a police dog began to growl and lunge toward Hall, who took out a small pocketknife in response. It was when he turned to the dog, the ACLU says, that police showered Hall with a stream of bullets.

Read More


Cop Instigated a Fight With a Mentally Ill Man, Then Killed Him With 14 Bullets — Cop Gets Fired

Was a neo-Nazi cop merely looking for an opportunity to shoot someone?

Killer Cop: Christopher Manney.
Killer Cop: Christopher Manney.

By M.L. Johnson
Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn has fired an officer who he said instigated a fight with a mentally ill man that eventually led the officer to shoot the man 14 times, killing him.

Officer Christopher Manney, 38, was dismissed nearly six months after 31-year-old Dontre Hamilton's death. Activists have compared the shooting to that of Michael Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year-old shot by an officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

The Victim: Dontre Hamilton.
The Victim: Dontre Hamilton.
Hamilton was sleeping in a downtown park when Manney responded to a call for a welfare check and began a patdown. Flynn said Wednesday that Hamilton resisted and the two exchanged punches and strikes before Hamilton hit Manney on the neck with Manney's baton. Manney then shot Hamilton.

Flynn said that while Manney correctly identified Hamilton as someone who was emotionally disturbed, he ignored his training and police policy and treated him as a criminal.

"You don't go hands-on and start frisking somebody only because they appear to be mentally ill," Flynn said during a news conference announcing the firing.

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Police Murder of Mentally Ill Homeless Man Sparks Citizen Rebellion in Albuquerque, New Mexico — Victim Camped In 'Unauthorized Area'

Police charge "commando style" at homeless and mentally ill James Boyd
Police charge "commando style" at homeless and mentally ill James Boyd just before shooting him dead. Police dogs,
stun guns, and bean bags were used on Boyd just before the fatal moment. Why the police didn't simply surround him
and wait him out is unknown. (Screen capture from YouTube video)

By Erik Ortiz
The killing of a mentally ill homeless man by New Mexico cops two weeks ago was caught on camera — a disturbing scene that became the flash point for Albuquerque residents already alarmed by a rise in police-involved shootings.

Tensions boiled over late Sunday as hundreds of protesters and cops in riot gear clashed on downtown streets.

But the unrest appears far from over: Online hacktivist collective Anonymous — no stranger to fomenting outrage — has pledged to keep a cyber spotlight on the Albuquerque Police Department’s problems.

Read More


Detroit Police Officer Humiliates Mentally Ill Black Man: Made Him Dance 'Like a Chimp' - Cops Posted Videos and Pics Degrading Black Men

By Nicole Flatow
A suburban Detroit police officer admitted he asked a mentally ill black man to sing and dance and video recorded the incident.

Videos and and photos with degrading portrayals of black men were submitted earlier this month to the blog, Motor City Muckraker, purportedly from officers who disseminated them to friends and colleagues in the upper class, majority-white Michigan suburb of Grosse Pointe Park. One video portrayed a voice alleged to be an officer asking black men to do humiliating tasks, including “dance like a chimp.” In another incident, an officer allegedly texted a photo of a black man in the back of his trailer with the text, “Gotta love the coloreds.” The journalist, Steve Neavling, told the Huffington Post that he has more than a dozen videos shot by officers, but has not shared most of them because of their “humiliating nature.”



Cops Taser Handcuffed, Mentally Ill Black Man to Death in Albany New York  (Video)

The Murdered Man's Name Was Donald Dontay Ivy
As usual, the police have no viable explanations for Iv's death:
The police are hoping you'll ignore it and he dies in vain.


Find Out More


U.S. Cops Continue to Kill the Mentally Ill in Large Numbers — While Effective Approaches Are Ignored (Video)

Memphis and other cities have adopted programs that reduce these tragedies. Why hasn't New York followed suit?

Have a mentally disturbed relative?: Don't call the cops for help - There's a good chance they'll kill him or her.  (Photo by David Goehring)
Have a mentally disturbed relative?: Don't call the cops for help - There's a good chance they'll kill him or her.
(Photo by David Goehring)

By Terrell Jermaine Starr
Times Square is a national landmark that welcomes millions of tourists each year. On Sept. 14, 2013, however, visitors witnessed a major flaw in how the New York Police Department deals with the mentally ill at Times Square.


Glenn Broadnax was having an psychological "episode" at Times Square in New York City. Broadnax
 pulled an 'invisible gun' on officers and they shot him three times, and also shot two bystanders.


Glenn Broadnax, 35, was walking in and out of traffic when he was confronted by police officers. They eventually opened fire on him and missed him, but hit two women bystanders, who survived. Video of the shooting went viral and critiques over how poorly the officers at the scene dealt with the situation followed.


Dallas cops were called by a mom of mentally ill man to assist in getting him to the hospital. When the man emerged fiddling with a screw driver, instead of simply stepping back and saying, "Can I help you? Is there a problem?" the cop jumped at the opportunity to kill a black man and get a "death notch" on his belt. The man was murdered in cold blood
in front of his mother, who had called the police for help in getting a mentally disturbed relative to the hospital.


Glenn Broadnax, 35, was walking in and out of traffic when he was confronted by police officers. They eventually opened fire on him and missed him, but hit two women bystanders, who survived. Video of the shooting went viral and critiques over how poorly the officers at the scene dealt with the situation followed.

"Cops don't know enough about the mentally ill," Eugene O'Donnell, a former NYPD cop and professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, in Manhattan, told CBS News' Crimesider at the time.

Broadnax, who was unarmed, was charged with wounding the bystanders who were shot by police. It was a perverse form of justice, but you could count Broadnax lucky in one way. He narrowly escaped being one of the 56 mentally ill New Yorkers who were fatally shot by the NYPD that year. It was a significant drop from 83 people in 2012, but a Brooklyn lawmaker says that’s still not enough.

“We would like to see that number at 0,” State Senator Kevin Parker of Brooklyn told AlterNet.Parker is hoping a bill he introduced in 2013 requiring all police officers in New York state to undergo Crisis Intervention Training, an intensive week-long course that trains officers on how to deal with mentally ill people in distress, will be signed into law by the end of this year.

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A Medical Alert Alarm Called Police to 68-Year-Old Veteran's Home - After the Police Were Informed that the Alarm Went Off By Mistake They Kicked Down the Door and Executed the Veteran

As the Trayvon Martin case draws national attention, we look at another fatal shooting of an African-American male that has received far less scrutiny. Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., a 68-year-old African-American Marine veteran, was fatally shot in November by White Plains, NY, police who responded to a false alarm from his medical alert pendant. The officers broke down Chamberlain’s door, tasered him, and then shot him dead. Audio of the entire incident was recorded by the medical alert device in Chamberlain’s apartment. We’re joined by family attorneys and Chamberlain’s son, Kenneth Chamberlain Jr., who struggles through tears to recount his father’s final moments, including the way police officers mocked his father’s past as a marine. "For them to look at my father that way, (with) no regard for his life, every morning I think about it," he says. [includes rush transcript]
For an update on the case, see our exclusive broadcast on April 5: Cop in Fatal Shooting of Ex-Marine Kenneth Chamberlain ID’d, Sued in 2008 Racism Case


JUAN GONZALEZ: As the shooting death of Trayvon Martin continues to draw national attention, today we look at another controversial shooting of an African-American male that has received far less scrutiny. On the morning of November 19th, a 68-year-old former marine named Kenneth Chamberlain with a heart condition accidentally pressed the button on his medical alert system while sleeping. Responding to the alert, police officers from the city of White Plains, New York, arrived at Chamberlain’s apartment in a public housing complex shortly after 5 a.m. By the time the police left the apartment, Kenneth Chamberlain was dead, shot twice in the chest by a police officer inside his home. Police gained entry to Chamberlain’s apartment only after they took his front door off its hinges. Officers first shot him with a taser, then a beanbag shotgun, and then with live ammunition.

AMY GOODMAN: Police have insisted the use of force was warranted. They said Kenneth Chamberlain was emotionally disturbed and had pulled a knife on the officers. This is David Chong, public safety commissioner in White Plains.

DAVID CHONG: The officers first used an electronic taser, which was discharged, hit the victim, and had no effect. While the officers were retreating, the officers then used a shotgun, a beanbag shotgun.

AMY GOODMAN: Relatives of Kenneth Chamberlain have questioned the police portrayal of events that led to his death, and they say audio and video recorded at the scene back up their case. According to the family, Kenneth Chamberlain can be heard on an audio recording of his call to the medical alert system operator saying, quote, "Please leave me alone. I’m 68 with a heart condition. Why are you doing this to me? Can you please leave me alone?" Officers allegedly responded by calling Chamberlain a racial slur while urging him to open the door. The audio recording of the incident has not been made public and remains in the possession of the Westchester District Attorney’s office.

In early December, Kenneth Chamberlain, a retired marine, was buried with military honors. The family posted video of part of the ceremony.

Several months after his death, the name of the officer who killed Kenneth Chamberlain has yet to be released. The DA has vowed to convene a grand jury to determine if any of the officers should face charges.

We invited the White Plains Police Department and the Westchester DA’s office on to the program, but they declined to join us or issue a comment. But we are joined by Kenneth Chamberlain Jr., the son of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., the victim, and by two of the family’s attorneys. Mayo Bartlett is the former chief of the Bias Crimes Unit of the Westchester County District Attorney’s office and the former chair of the Westchester County Human Rights Commission. Randolph McLaughlin is a longtime civil rights attorney. He teaches at Pace Law School.

We welcome you all to Democracy Now! Our condolences to your family, Kenneth Chamberlain, on the death of your father.


AMY GOODMAN: Tell us what you understand happened early in the morning of November 19th.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN JR.: Well, it’s my understanding that, from what I’ve gathered right now, that my father accidentally pushed his medical pendant around his neck. He could have possibly turned over on it. We don’t know. We can only speculate about that.

AMY GOODMAN: Why did he wear it?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN JR.: He has a heart condition, and he also suffered from COPD. And when he—the pendant was triggered—

AMY GOODMAN: You’re holding that in—


AMY GOODMAN: —his hand.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN JR.: This is his pendant right here. It was triggered, and the medical company—there’s a box inside his home. The medical company asked him if he was all right. They didn’t get a response. So, automatically, if you don’t get a response, they send medical services to your house. They informed the police that they are responding to a medical emergency, not a crime. And once they arrived at my father’s home, my father did tell them that he was OK. But for some reason, they wanted to gain entry into my father’s home. I don’t know why. And in the audio, you hear my father telling them that he’s fine, he’s OK.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Now, this is an important point, that there was audio going on throughout this between the firm and your father.


JUAN GONZALEZ: And so, much of the activity of the police was caught on this audio.


AMY GOODMAN: So the box on the wall records everything that’s—

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN JR.: It’s actually a box that just sat on his table in the—in his dining room area. It just sat there. And it’s connected to the phone company. So if he does trigger it, as I said, you hear a loud beeping noise. And then the operator, from their central station, will come on, and they say, "Mr. Chamberlain, are you OK? You triggered your alarm. Is everything all right?" And, of course, if they don’t get a response, they then contact the officials.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Now you were able to hear this audio because the DA’s office allowed you to hear it? How did you—


JUAN GONZALEZ: But it has not yet been released.


AMY GOODMAN: So, continue. You hear your father through the door telling the police he’s OK. This is about 5:00 in the morning?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN JR.: Yes. He’s saying that he’s OK. He’s saying that he did not call for them. But they were very insistent. They were banging on the door, banging on the door, banging on the door. So you hear one of the officers say to him, "Well, you pushed your—you triggered your alarm now." He said, "That’s because I want you to leave me alone." And they just kept telling him, "Open the door. Open the door. Let us see that you’re all right." At some point, the door was cracked open, because the police officers have a taser that has a camera on it, and it also has audio. So you could see where the door was cracked open. So, once you’ve gotten a visual, and you’ve seen that my father is OK, and he’s telling you that he’s OK, why would you still insist on getting into the apartment? Which is the question that I have. And they weren’t responding to a crime. He was sleeping and accidentally triggered his alarm.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And the officers then did what?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN JR.: Ultimately, after using expletives and racial slurs, they broke down the door. You can see on the video from the taser that they fired a taser at him. And I’m assuming that both prongs didn’t go in. He stood about maybe eight to 10 feet away from them with his hands down to his side. And at one point, you hear one of the officers say, "Cut it off." And it was at that point they shot and killed my father.

AMY GOODMAN: They shot him with beanbag also?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN JR.: Well, we didn’t see that. So I can’t—I can’t confirm or deny that.

AMY GOODMAN: Did you hear what the police officers were saying, were shouting to him before they—did they take the door off the hinges?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN JR.: They took it completely off the hinges.

AMY GOODMAN: To get in.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN JR.: Yes. There were no orders given to him once they knocked the door down, though, which you would have expected, that they would have given some type of verbal command and said, "Get down on the floor. Put your hands up. Get against the wall." None of those things were said.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And the allegation that he tried to attack them with a weapon first through the crack in the door and then once they got in the house?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN JR.: I didn’t see that. I can’t say that it didn’t happen, but from the video that I’ve seen and from what I gathered from the audio, I didn’t see where my father attacked them. And he was inside his home, so where was the immediate threat?

AMY GOODMAN: What exactly did you hear your father say? He was inside the house as the police are coming inside, and the medical pendant company is recording all of this.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN JR.: I’ve heard—I heard several things on there. One thing you hear is my father pleading with them to leave him alone. Excuse me. You hear him asking them why are they doing this to him. He says, "I’m a 68-year-old man with a heart condition. Why are you doing this to me? I know what you’re going to do: you’re going to come in here, and you’re going to kill me." You also hear him pleading with the officers again, over and over. And at one point, that’s when the expletive is used by one of the police officers.

AMY GOODMAN: What did they say?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN JR.: Where they say, "I don’t give a F." And then they use the N-word. And then, as I said, ultimately, they bust down the door. And it hurts because, as I said, it didn’t have to go to that point. You also hear the operators from the LifeAid company call the police station and say that they want to cancel the call, Mr. Chamberlain is OK. And at one point you hear the officer there at their central office say, "We’re not canceling anything." They say, "Call his son. Contact his son." And they say, "We’re not contacting anyone. We don’t need any mediators."

JUAN GONZALEZ: I’d like to bring in Mayo Bartlett, because you’re not only an attorney for the family in this case, but you are also a former prosecutor—


JUAN GONZALEZ: —in Westchester County, so you’re familiar with police procedures in cases like this. I’m struck by the fact that the identity of the police officer involved has not yet been revealed. That’s something that’s pretty routine in cases like this, certainly by this time, because we’re talking about an event that happened in November.

MAYO BARTLETT: Absolutely. I think that anybody who lives in the city of White Plains has to ask themselves whether this individual is working right now. And if so, in what capacity? And I think that it’s just—it’s atrocious that that name has not been released and that the officers involved are not at least on desk duty, some type of modified duty.

Looking at it as a former prosecutor, whenever you talk about a use of force, you always look at a use of force continuum, and it’s an escalation of force. And generally, police departments have rules and protocols which suggest that you should first start out with a verbal command, if in fact there’s even a need to do that and if that’s the least intrusive manner that you can address an issue. And after that, it goes generally to a light hands application, and it goes up from there to possibly a baton, pepper spray, possibly a taser. And you use deadly force only when it’s necessary to prevent deadly force from being used.

And in this case, Mr. Chamberlain didn’t have a gun. Mr. Chamberlain, when I saw the videotape, did not have a knife when he was in his apartment. You see a 68-year-old man with no shirt on and boxer shorts and his hands down at his sides. And I didn’t see any weapon in his hands there.

And the other thing that’s troubling to me is the fact that a taser was used at all, because you’re there for a medical response. You’re not there investigating a criminal act. You are there with the understanding that there may be a person who needs medical assistance.

AMY GOODMAN: For a man with a heart condition, no less.

MAYO BARTLETT: Absolutely. And so, if you understand that, to use a taser, which is going to send significant electricity through that person’s body, would be, at best, reckless. And that alone could cause his death. And the thing that’s extremely troubling to me is that, again, the police were not there to respond to criminal activity. They went to the gentleman’s house at 5:00 in the morning to give him assistance. The only reason that he had the LifeAid pendant to begin with was so that his family and that he would be comfortable that if something was to occur, he would be able to get assistance.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to read part of the initial news coverage around the killing of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. The headline on the News 12 website read, quote, "Officer fatally shoots hatchet-wielding man." TheDailyWhitePlains.com website posted an article titled "Police Fatally Shoot Disturbed Man Carrying Knife." The story begins, quote, "White Plains police say an officer discharged two rounds, fatally shooting an emotionally disturbed White Plains man who attempted to bar officers from entering his apartment with a hatchet and then turned towards police with a butcher’s knife." Randy McLaughlin, would you respond to this?

RANDOLPH McLAUGHLIN: Well, first, one of the problems in a wrongful death case like this is, you’ve got a decedent, the person who’s dead, and the police initially put out their spin. And that’s a spin. That’s clearly a spin. The videotape had—there’s also a videotape of what happened in that hallway. There’s an audio tape. There’s a videotape of Mr. Chamberlain when they come at him with the taser. This is a clear violation of criminal law and of constitutional rights. In our country, we have a Fourth Amendment that says we’re supposed to be secure in our own homes. Mr. Chamberlain wasn’t attacking anyone. He was in his home. This idea that they—he attacked anyone with a hatchet is, frankly, a lie. That’s what it is. It’s a cover story to cover up what they’ve done here. And we’re meeting with the district attorney this afternoon, of Westchester County, to press for a full prosecution of the highest crimes in this state. There’s a petition, and online petition, that Mr. Chamberlain has put out, and we’re presenting that petition to her today, as well.

JUAN GONZALEZ: It would seem to me that given the fact that they have the audio and the video, and they hear their own officers using racial epithets, would immediately say to the brass of the police department, "We have a problem here," because that’s going to be in court before a grand jury at some point, and that they had a responsibility at that point to begin doing their own investigation of what’s going on here.

RANDOLPH McLAUGHLIN: They have so many problems here. Mr. Chamberlain’s niece was in the hallway right at the time when they were banging on the door. She said to them, "I’m his niece." They pushed her away.

AMY GOODMAN: She lived upstairs?


RANDOLPH McLAUGHLIN: On the fifth floor. Another officer who was present had a full head-to-toe body shield that could stop bullets. And rather than secure the situation—let’s assume for the sake of this discussion that they had a right to see him to make sure he was OK. OK, so the door is open. You see him there. Why are you entering his apartment? It’s kind of like Zimmerman. You provoke a situation, then you respond to it, "Oh, I had to use deadly force to protect myself." No, you provoked the situation. You had no right to cross that man’s threshold in his home. That’s what led to the problem.

AMY GOODMAN: Last week, New York State Senator Suzi Oppenheimer wrote a letter to Westchester County District Attorney voicing support for an investigation into the killing. She wrote, quote, "I ask that you do everything in your power to ensure that there is a full and fair investigation of this incident and that all relevant information is presented to the grand jury for its consideration." She has so far been the only state legislator to speak out, is this right, Mayo?

MAYO BARTLETT: Yeah, that’s correct. And the thing is, I want to follow on what Randy just said in terms of Mr. Zimmerman. I think that this—and I don’t—I’m not comparing the two tragedies. I don’t like to do that. But what I do think is this. Mr. Zimmerman is a private citizen. This is individuals who are acting under color of law. These are people who are employed by the government to give you assistance. So I think that that’s even more egregious than an individual who may exercise terrible judgment or have bias in their heart.

And I think that it also is—it is a travesty that we don’t have any reaction from public officials. And if you simply reverse the roles here, if Mr. Chamberlain had shot at a police officer or harmed a police officer, even if it wasn’t with deadly force, if an officer ended up having a bloody nose, in all likelihood Mr. Chamberlain, 68-year-old 20-year retired corrections officer and a gentleman who served this country in the Marines for six years, would have been charged with a felony assault. And we would have heard from all of our elected officials. They would have talked about him probably in disparaging ways. They would have possibly called him an animal, as sometimes people who are alleged to have committed these crimes are referred to.

JUAN GONZALEZ: I’d like to ask you about this issue, that they’re talking about bringing this case to a grand jury in April. This happened in November. We’re talking now five or six months later that they’re empaneling even a grand jury to discuss the facts, not necessarily to charge—possibly to charge someone. But it seems to me a long time to wait for—even for a grand jury on this.

MAYO BARTLETT: Well, it is a good amount of time. And part of it is an investigatory process, but it is a long time. And the biggest concern I have with respect to the grand jury is that we do not have an opportunity to present information to a grand jury in New York state. The only person who does that is the district attorney’s office. So we can’t even determine whether they’re going to play the audio tape at all. if there will play the audio tape, or, if so, whether it’s going to be redacted. So we’re really stuck with a good faith offering from the district attorney that it’s going to be fully presented.

AMY GOODMAN: Kenneth Chamberlain Jr., tell us about your dad, Kenneth Chamberlain Sr.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN JR.: When people ask me about that, I tell people he was a father like anyone else. I mean, he agreed with some things that you did, and he disagreed with others. But my father would never hurt anyone intentionally. He wouldn’t go after anyone. I mean, he was law enforcement himself. He was a marine. I’m sure whatever he’s seen when he served, that that was enough violence for him. And for them to look at my father that way, without—I mean, no regard for his life, every morning I think about it, just the circumstances, because I guess maybe around 5:00 in the morning I tend to think about all of this. And it disturbs me about the fact that it hasn’t been presented yet, because I do know, as my attorney said, that if the roles had been reversed, this would already be in a grand jury.

AMY GOODMAN: When did you hear your father had been killed?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN JR.: I found out from a friend of mine that Saturday morning. I was up, and my phone rang. And a friend of mine called me, and he said—who also lives in the building—he said, "You need to get out to White Plains right away." And I asked him why. He said, "Something is going on with your father. I don’t know what it is." And I asked him, I said, "Well, what’s going on?" And as he was getting ready to tell me, he just yelled out, "Oh, my god!" And I asked him what happened.

AMY GOODMAN: I’m really sorry to put you through this again, to make you relive it.


AMY GOODMAN: You’re holding your father’s ID card, as well?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN JR.: Yes. I have his Marine ring and his veteran’s card. My father was—

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Kenneth Chamberlain Jr., the son of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., who was killed by police on November 19th, 2011, in his home. His medical alert pendant went off, and the company called the police to check on him.


AMY GOODMAN: Go ahead, Ken. It’s fine.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN JR.: Yes, I have his Marine ring, his veteran’s card. He was proud to be a marine. And even on the audio, you hear the police officers making fun of the fact that he was a marine. And—

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN JR.: They asked my father to open the door. He refused. He said, "I’m not opening my door." They said something to the effect that they were going to knock it down. He said, "I won’t let you in." And he said "Semper Fi." So they said, "Oh, you’re a marine. Hoo-rah. Hoo-rah." And this is somebody that served this country. Why would you even say that to him? And my father always said, "Once a marine, always a marine," if he was ever in trouble and couldn’t get help from anybody else, to call on a marine. And a lot of those things come back now, where things that I had—just I thought went in one ear and right out the other, but in light of these things, when you hear the audio, when you look at the video, all of these things come back.

And in 45 years of me being on this earth, that was the very first time that I ever heard my father where he was pleading and begging for his life, someone who I looked at as being extremely strong, to hear him beg for his life, to say that this was his sworn testimony on the audio, which the police did not know that was being recorded. He said, "My name is Kenneth Chamberlain. This is my sworn testimony. White Plains police are going to come in here and kill me."

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, and the amazing thing about this is that they were supposed to come there to assist him—


JUAN GONZALEZ: —that there was no indication of any kind of a crime—


JUAN GONZALEZ: —and that he would have depended on them for help, and instead this happens.

RANDOLPH McLAUGHLIN: I think it’s important—you know, we’re lawyers. This is what we do. But I think it’s important to always remember and look at this case not as a case, but as a human being who lost his life over a needless situation, and look at the impact that this kind of senseless killing has on his family. This man lost his father. He gets a call at 5 a.m. "My father is in—having a difficult" — why didn’t they call him? He could have been there in five minutes. I mean, the lack of professionalism in this department is shocking. The fact that they—that no public official in the city of White Plains has come and said to this man, "I’m sorry over the loss of your father." I mean, Mayor Bloomberg has done that in New York. Whether I agree with everything he’s done, at least he has the decency to do that. No one has reached out to this man at all.

So, we have prepared to take this case to the fullest extent. We filed a notice of claim on behalf of the family, and we’re waiting a little time to give the DA a chance to do what she has to do. But if they don’t do the right thing in White Plains, we’re coming to Manhattan to seek justice in the Department of Justice with the U.S. attorney’s office.

MAYO BARTLETT: Randy, if I can just follow on what you’re saying also, it’s interesting that the very first coverage of this comes from the White Plains Police Department. And the White Plains Police Department neglects to mention that they were there for a medical emergency. They don’t state that. They lead you to believe that they were there to deal with a person who was out of control, who was a threat to the community, who was somehow out there and required their assistance. And I remember watching it as it occurred, and I’m sitting down with my friend and his sons, who are in high school. And it had a picture of the White Plains police car and a target on the police vehicle, as if the police had been targeted. And there was a statement immediately made that it was a justified shooting. And that statement had to have been made before they were aware that there was audio and that perhaps some of the video contradicts that. And it’s very similar to Mr. Zimmerman suggesting that he had a bloody nose, and now you look at the video, and it doesn’t appear to be the case. And that really makes you question what we’re being told sometimes by government with respect to these types of matters.

And to any degree that Mr. Chamberlain was emotional, it was because he was taunted. They created the situation. They escalated a situation. And police are trained. They’re trained to deal with people who are emotionally disturbed. They’re not trained to kill those individuals, and certainly not an individual who’s 68 years old when you have a ballistic shield and a dozen officers and firefighters that are present who could have simply gone in. But there was a suggestion that Mr. Chamberlain had left his home and that the officers were retreating. That never occurred. The minute they got into the house, they didn’t even give him one command. They never mentioned, "Put your hand up." They never told him to lay down on the bed. They never did any of that. The first thing they did, as soon as that door was finally broken off the hinges, you could see the taser light up, and it was charged, and you could see it going directly toward him. Now that was 100 percent unnecessary.

And when you see that video, which I wish was public, because I think that the grand jury is used as a shield, and it shouldn’t be. It’s a shield for people who have committed crimes and generally a shield for law enforcement, because, again, these same videos are made public, very public, when they involve civilians who are charged. And I think that the shielding provision of the grand jury, the secrecy provision, is to prevent people from organized—being threatened by organized crime figures, not to protect you from your own police department.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you all for being with us and end on a final question to Kenneth Chamberlain Jr. When you heard of the killing of Trayvon Martin, your thoughts, as you’re going through what you’re going? They’re saying they, too, in Florida, will be convening a grand jury, apparently at about the same time as the grand jury will be convened in the case of the death of your father that occurred months earlier.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN JR.: My heart definitely goes out to that family, because I know exactly what it is that they’re feeling right now. And it took me a while before I actually listened to the released 911 tapes of that day with that young man. And when I finally got up the nerve to listen to it, to hear him in the background yelling for help—and I think it was about maybe three times—and then you hear a gunshot, and you don’t hear him anymore, it brought tears to my eyes immediately. And it—of course, it also made me think about my own father, because I hear him pleading for his life, too. And it’s the same thing that happened with this young man. So I would just encourage that family to just keep up the fight and don’t give up, the same as I’m doing.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Kenneth Chamberlain, I want to thank you very much for being with us. You have a petition online right now?

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN JR.: I just took the petition down, but I also have a Facebook page that says "Justice for Kenneth Chamberlain Sr." that a lot of people have gone on and requested to be a part of, where I just keep people updated about the events that are taking place. Very recently, I just posted that I was going to be here. And before that, I spoke about the fact that no elected officials in White Plains have spoken to my family, and why haven’t they? They haven’t commented. And you would think that they would. But I guess that’s another question for another day.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we certainly will continue to follow this case.


AMY GOODMAN: Kenneth Chamberlain Jr., Mayo Bartlett and Randolph McLaughlin, thank you very much for being with us.


Leonard Strickland Was a Prisoner With Schizophrenia Held in Solitary Confinement Who Got into an Argument With Guards, Who Beat Him to Death


An Inmate Dies, and No One Is Punished

Inmates who have served time at the Clinton Correctional Facility here tell of being taken aside by a sergeant soon after they arrive and given a warning: Cross the guards, and bad things can happen.

And they do. Inmates describe being ambushed by guards and beaten, taunted with racial slurs, and kept out of sight, in solitary confinement, until the injuries inflicted on them have healed enough to avoid arousing suspicion.

One story in particular has been passed along over the last few years as a kind of parable of brutality and injustice on the cellblocks. Leonard Strickland was a prisoner with schizophrenia who got into an argument with guards, and ended up dead.

In the inmates’ telling, the guards got away with murder, ganging up on Mr. Strickland and beating him so viciously that he could barely move. The guards deny this, saying they acted only in self-defense and did what was necessary to subdue an out-of-control prisoner.

But what came next is indisputable. In a security video obtained by The New York Times, Mr. Strickland is seen in handcuffs, barely conscious and being dragged along the floor by officers, while a prison nurse standing close by does nothing. Even as he lies face down on the floor, near death, guards can be heard shouting, “Stop resisting.”

By the time an ambulance arrived, medical records described Mr. Strickland’s body as cold to the touch and covered in cuts and bruises, with blood flowing from his ears.

The 2010 case fits a troubling pattern of savage beatings by corrections officers at prisons across New York State and a department that rarely holds anyone accountable, issues that have been highlighted in a series of articles over the past year by The Times and The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization.

Mr. Strickland’s death was only briefly noted in local newspapers, and probably would have been forgotten by all but the officers and inmates. But the escape of two murderers from Clinton in June attracted extraordinary attention to the maximum-security prison, and details about its inner workings, long held secret, have started to reach outsiders.

Investigations by The Times uncovered the serious security lapses that made the escape possible, as well as beatings by guards during the interrogations that followed. State officials have said they are investigating the abuse claims, but there is little to indicate any results will come of it.

The internal affairs unit of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision has long been mired in dysfunction. Its former director of operations is awaiting trial on charges of sexually harassing several subordinates.

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