WHITE PLAINS, NY — With a crowd of nearly 200 people, spilling out into the hallway, Mayor Tom Roach and the members of the White Plains Common Council heard from family and community members who expressed their disappointment in the manner by which the White Plains Police Department has handled the internal investigation into the shooting death of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. back on November 19, 2011. Kenneth Chamberlain Jr. urged the mayor and the council to recommend Police Commissioner David Chong suspend the officers involved in the incident pending the investigation outcome. The officers involved are currently on limited duty.
Speaking for the community, Rev. Odinga Maddox, Pastor of the Hope AME Zion Church and a member of the Fellowship Council of White Plains Ministers, addressed the Common Council saying; “We are appalled and horrified with what appears to be no internal action by the Common Council and Commissioner Chong.” Though there were about twelve uniformed officers in attendance, Commissioner Chong was absent from the hearing.
Also in attendance to show support for the Chamberlain family was White Plains Police Officer Michael Hannon who claimed he was assaulted with a chair last fall by Assistant Police Chief Ann FitzSimmons. Hannon relayed to the crowd that he suffered permanent injuries to his back after FitzSimmons slammed an office chair into his back while he was working at the Department of Public Safety. He too explained that Assistant Chief FitzSimmons was never reprimanded for her actions and there may indeed be a culture of violence to those of color by the White Plains Police Department.
Mayor Tom Roach twice addressed the crowd during the hearing to assure those in attendance that the findings of an independent internal investigation would be reporting directly to him and that he would then make appropriate recommendations to Commissioner Chong.
Nancy King is a freelance, investigative reporter; a resident of White Plains, New York.