Writer/director David Midell’s sophomore feature, The Killing Of Kenneth Chamberlain, is based on the tragic true story of Mr. Chamberlain’s unjust murder at the hands of the police. On November 19, 2011, the former Marine’s LifeAid alert accidentally went off at 5:22 am. Since he was asleep, the LifeAid worker on the other end of the line could not get a response and reached out to emergency responders for a wellness check.
Three police officers arrive and knock on Chamberlain’s door. Said knocking is what stirs him, and after some back and forth establishing who he is and why the cops are there, the 68-year-old African American asks the cops to leave. For various reasons, including racial profiling and needing to show him who “the boss” is, the cops refuse to go. This is after the LifeAid worker confirms that the call was accidental and calls off the request.
“…the tragic true story of Mr. Chamberlain’s unjust murder at the hands of the police.”
The officers then bust down Chamberlain’s door, tase him, and eventually fatally shot him. The cops swear he was coming at them with a knife. However, an autopsy disproves via the angle of entry of his bullet wounds. Plus, a cover-up involving falsified or inaccurate officer reports over the incident (especially concerning one of them using the “n” word) has lead Chamberlain’s family and their supporters to claim this was a hate crime. Sadly, none of the officers involved have been brought up on charges, as the DA at the time, Janet DiFiore, claimed that the cops “acted appropriately,” though common sense, the audio recording caught by LifeAid, and a civil lawsuit say otherwise.
In The Killing Of Kenneth Chamberlain, Frankie Faison portrays the doomed character with great conviction. He is empathetic while believably acting out the man’s mental health issues and PTSD. Around the 30 minute mark, he opens his apartment door a crack so that the LifeAid worker can tell the cops that the wellness check is no longer necessary. The cops just yell over the person talking as they try to break in, though most of Chamberlain’s body is blocking entry. The way Faison acts the frustration and confusion over what is happening is heartbreaking.
"…illustrates exactly why 'defund the police' isn't just a rallying cry..."