Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., a former Marine who had heart problems and wheezed if he walked more than 40 feet, triggered his medical alert system pendant. The system operator came on the loudspeaker in his one-bedroom apartment, asking: “Mr. Chamberlain, are you O.K.?” All of this is recorded.
Mr. Chamberlain didn’t respond. So the operator signaled for an ambulance. Police patrol cars fell in behind — standard operating procedure in towns across America. Except an hour later, even as Mr. Chamberlain insisted he was in good health, the police had snapped the locks on the apartment door.
They fired electric charges from Tasers, and beanbags from shotguns. Then they said they saw Mr. Chamberlain grab a knife, and an officer fired his handgun.
Boom! Boom! Mr. Chamberlain’s niece Tonyia Greenhill, who lives upstairs, recalls the echoes ricocheting about the hall. She pushed out a back door and ran into the darkness beneath overarching oaks. He lay on the floor near his kitchen, two bullet holes in his chest, blood pooling thick, dying.
Simple Justice points out the obvious result of all this...
Shockingly, the White Plains Public Safety Commissioner declared the shooting "warranted" because, well, they invoked the First Rule. Not that it wouldn't have been a good idea for the police to have remained calm and de-escalated the situation, calming an old man who might have been in some emotional distress. After all, they didn't know what was happening, which means they had to break into his room. Sure, he told them he was fine at the door, but the police can't trust the word of the person they're there to save.Of course they can't. You might have drugs in there. Or a dog, or something.
Remember, whenever you might be tempted to call a cop, the First Rule of Police Work: Make it home alive. It's a pretty good rule for life, too, but those of us who are not cops interpret it in another way. To a cop, it has come to mean kill everyone who frightens you. To a "citizen," it means - among other things - stay the hell away from cops.