A North Miami police officer shot a therapist who was seeking to calm an autistic man who had escaped from a group of people with disabilities. Cellphone video as released today that show therapist Charles Kinsey lying on the ground with his arms extended into the air. He could be heard telling a police officer, “All he has is a toy truck. A toy truck. I am a behavior therapist at a group home.” Kinsey is also heard telling his patient, “Rinaldo, please be still, Rinaldo. Sit down, Rinaldo. Lay on your stomach.”
Lying in a hospital bed, Kinsey told local WSVN News, “I went to the ground with my hands up, and I am laying there just like this. Telling them again there is no need for firearms. He is autistic.” After the confrontation went on for a few minutes, one of the police officers shot Kinsey. He said, “…it was so surprising.” Kinsey added, “I thought it was a mosquito bite, and when it hit me I had my hands in the air, and I’m thinking I just got shot! And I’m saying, ‘Sir, why did you shoot me?’ and his words to me were, ‘I don’t know.'”
The incident took place on July 18, when officers responded to a 911 call that claimed that there was a man with a gun threatening suicide. When officers arrived, Kinsey told them that the man was his patient and that the supposed gun was merely a toy. Saying that he was concerned for his patient’s safety, Kinsey said, “I was thinking as long as I have my hands up … they’re not going to shoot me…Wow, was I wrong.”
After he was shot, the police allegedly cuffed him and flipped him over as he bled out on the ground. Kinsey is happy to be alive. His wife said, “Right now, I am just grateful that he is alive, and he is able to tell his story.” However, Kinsey still wonders why the officers fired on him.
“Everytime I close my eyes I am getting flashbacks,” Kinsey said.
Tonight, a group that calls itself The Circle of Brotherhood stood in protest outside the North Miami Police Department headquarters, asking for answers about the incident and whether the responsible officers will face charges. So far, the police have not released the name of the officers involved nor any information about an investigation. However, a Florida State Attorney is now involved.
Kinsey's attorney, Hilton Napoleon, told local media that he thinks it is possible that the shooting was accidental. Because Kinsey was not shot in the head or chest, he theorized that the police on the scene did not perceive his client as a threat, and thus bolstered his belief that the shooting was not intentional. The incident took place during a national conversation over the shooting deaths of civilians by police and just days after a gunman shot to death three officers in Baton Rouge. Napoleon said, "...it leads you to wonder that had those things not happened, had the police not been ambushed in those parts and had they not been on heightened alert, would they have come out with assault rifles and accidentally, I don't know if it was intentional or accidental, shot an individual who's laying on the ground with his hands up." Napoleon added, "He was on the ground, he was laying on the ground with his hands up and he got shot in the leg."