There are plenty of incidents of police shooting citizens where we don’t know all the facts and shouldn’t jump to conclusions, but this latest disturbing debacle seems to be shocking and indefensible.
On Wednesday afternoon, North Miami police were called about a man who was walking around with a gun threatening suicide. Police arrived on the scene to find a 23-year-old autistic man. Along with the mentally disable man was Charles Kinsey, a therapist at the assisted living facility where the autistic man lives. Police instructed the two men to lie on the ground with their hands in the air, to which Kinsey complied immediately.
Kinsey attempted to get the autistic man to also lay down, but he just sat in the middle of the street. The therapist informed officers that the mentally ill man was not suicidal, and did not have a gun, it was actually a toy truck.
In the video, Kinsey is heard telling cops, “All he has is a toy truck. A toy truck. I am a behavior therapist at a group home.”
“Sir, there’s no need for firearms,” Kinsey told police. “Please
Then out of nowhere, three shots rang out, and Kinsey was shot by one of the police officers. “When he hit me, it was so surprising. It was like a mosquito bite. And when he hit me I was like, ‘I still got my hands in the air.’”
Kinsey was shot once in the leg.
Officers then approached both men and handcuffed them.
Kinsey said when he asked the officer why he shot him the cop responded, “I don’t know.”
“He throws his hands up in the air and says, ‘Don’t shoot me.’ They say lie on the ground, so he does,” Kinsey’s attorney Hilton Napoleon said. “He’s on his back with his hands in the air trying to convince the other guy to lie down. It doesn’t make any sense.”
Kinsey, a 47-year-old who has worked at the MacTown Panther Group Homes for a little over a year, was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital. Thankfully Kinsey wasn’t badly injured and is expected to be home by Thursday.
“I was more worried about him than myself,” Kinsey told Channel 7 about the anonymous autistic man.
The department issued a press release and appealed for witnesses.
Assistant Police Chief Neal Cuevas said the investigation has been turned over to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.
Police haven’t released any other details, and there is no indication that a weapon of any kind was found. The officer who shot the therapist has been placed on administrative leave.
Kinsey’s attorney said he was already negotiating a possible settlement with the city of North Miami.
There’s no defending shooting an unarmed man, who is compliant, laying on the ground with his hands in the air.