Skip to Content

Former NYPD officers honored for saving MLK’s childhood home

NEW YORK, N.Y. (CBS, KYMA/KECY) - Former NYPD officers Axel Dodson and his older brother Kenneth "Kenny" Dodson were honored Saturday for chasing down a woman who had tried to torch the childhood home of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The siblings and their mother were visiting the home Thursday when they saw a man and a woman fighting. The man, it turned out, was Salt Lake City filmmaker Zachary Kempf, who was trying to prevent Laneisha Shantrice Henderson from lighting the gasoline she had poured on the home’s front porch.

When Henderson fled the scene, the brothers jumped in their respective cars and found Henderson in a nearby alley.

"When we first pulled up, we just expected to take a picture of the house. That was it, just a picture of the house. And when somebody called us and said that it seemed like he was in distress, that's what got us motivated and moving as well. And when he talked about that, the girl was trying to burn the house down right away and then started running away right away. My brother looks at me and he goes, 'What do you think? Uh, should we chase her?' And I said, 'Well...yeah. Let's get her.' And I said, 'I'm not chasing anybody. I'll get in the car and run after her.' I said, 'But I'm not running after everybody.' So, I jumped in the car, he jumped in the car behind me and we chased the young lady down the street. At the time, we saw her run across the street, she ran down the alleyway and that's when my brother jumped out the car chasing after her. And as soon as he jumped out the car chasing after [her], I went to keep, once again, your matter how long you've been gone, I've been gone for some time. Your police, your policing kicks in. And I wanted to keep my eye on him. So, as soon as he jumped out and started chasing her down the driveway, I...jumped out the car to keep eyes on him and followed him down the driveway. And then I heard him yelling, 'Get down, get down, get down.' And I didn't even see her yet, but I'm yelling, 'Get down' because I one her to know somebody else was there."

Kenny Dodson, one of the people who captured the arson suspect

The two managed to grab Henderson and, without any handcuffs or other police equipment, managed to take her back to the scene, where Atlanta cops took her into custody.

"We always preach in New York city. We always say, when you see something, say something and when the police commissioner, and I first heard about what occurred in Atlanta, we couldn't have been more proud that it was two N Y P D retired officers. And we say, when you see something, say something, but our officers because once a cop, always a cop, not only did they see something, but they did something."

Tania Kinsella, NYPD First Deputy Commissioner
Article Topic Follows: National-World

Jump to comments ↓

CBS News

Author Profile Photo

Dillon Fuhrman

If you have any story ideas, reach out to him at


KYMA KECY is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content