Tonight on AC360: Unarmed black vet shot by police
Soledad O’Brien interviews the son of Kenneth Chamberlain who was shot dead by police bullets. Photo credit: Travis Williamson
April 12th, 2012
05:10 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: Unarmed black vet shot by police

Editor's note: Don't miss Soledad O'Brien's report on the death of Kenneth Chamberlain at 8 and 10 p.m. ET on AC360°.

The call for help was not unusual. A 68-year-old veteran with a heart condition had tripped a medical alert device he keeps around his neck in the early hours of a winter morning. The company that services the device informed a 911 operator the device had been triggered and asked for an ambulance to go to the address.

But police arrived at Kenneth Chamberlain's apartment first. And hours later Chamberlain was dead, not from his heart condition, but from two bullets fired by White Plains, NY police officer Anthony Carelli.

Now Kenneth Chamberlain’s family has joined civil rights activists alleging this case raises similar questions to that of Trayvon Martin who was shot dead by a neighborhood watch volunteer: Do police or civilians trying to enforce the law shoot first and ask questions later when they are dealing with African Americans?

Officer Carelli, is white ,and Kenneth Chamberlain is black. Chamberlain lived in a public housing complex in a rundown section of White Plains, New York where law enforcement sources said only that he was "known to them," from previous calls to police but won’t say what they were for. Chamberlain was never arrested by police, who note there was a black police officer on the scene the night he was shot and say that Chamberlain came at them with knives in hand. Shots were fired only after police tried to subdue him with a taser and bean-bag rounds.