In 2011, Kenneth Chamberlain, a retired 68-year-old marine, accidentally tipped off his medical emergency alert on the early morning of November 19.
It was an accident, however, that one mistake was costly and triggered a chain reaction of events that would eventually lead to another tragic death of an innocent Black man at the hands of the police. The true story was dramatized in the movie, The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain at the Urban World Film Festival, winning top narrative feature prize
Frankie Faison, Anika Noni Rose, Enrico Natale, Steve O’Connell, LaRoyce Hawkins, and Ben Marten appeared in the Natale, Sharad Chib, Chris Paladino and Milan Chakraborty produced the film.
Made in 2019, no one would have believed that this story about the tragic end of a White Plains senior citizen with obvious mental health issues would be such a poignant and captivating film — just brimming with current hot button issues of racial, ageist, and mental health bias that has spilled over into our streets in protest.
Frankie Faison brilliantly plays Chamberlain, communicating the angst that you might expect the situation to inspire. The trinity of officers was a snapshot of law enforcement personalities, with a sliding escalation of serving and protecting to righteous indignation and white supremacy.
While one police officer pleaded with his colleagues to “quietly wait it out” because he recognized a mental health break in the senior citizen’s behavior, the other cop banged on the door ultimately yelling, “Let me in N**GER.”
What was most startling is that the scripted dialogue was eerily similar (and oftentimes identical) to the actual 911 tapes from this real-life incident. Executive producers Morgan Freeman and Lori McCreary deserve all kinds of accolades for creating such a powerful time capsule that uses nothing but the facts to demonstrate how race and this kind of policing are tools of bigoted law enforcement.
The family, which is portrayed in the movie as concerned, caring, and willing to help the officers several times, did eventually sue the city. The case was originally shut down, but this summer was reopened.