It’s not clear what led to this officer-involved shooting in North Miami earlier this week. Police responded to a 911 call regarding a man walking around with a gun and “threatening suicide.”
During the confrontation caught on video, two men can be seen on the ground. One is a black man lying on his back with both hands up, yelling to officers and trying to explain the situation. His name is Charles Kinsey, and he identified himself as a behavior therapist who worked at a group home.
Kinsey identified the other man – who happened to be white – as one of his autistic patients. The white man appeared to officers to be holding a gun. But Kinsey tried to assure them that it was only a toy truck.
While Kinsey was on his back with his hands still in the air, and trying to get his patient to do the same – his patient was sitting on the ground, rocking back and forth – an officer shot a couple rounds. He shot Kinsey. “As long as I’ve got my hands up, they’re not gonna shoot me, that’s what I’m thinking,” Kinsey said. “Wow, was I wrong.”
Kinsey asked the officer why he shot him. The officer responded, “I don’t know.”
Thankfully, Kinsey’s wound to his right leg was not life-threatening. He’s recovering in the hospital.
Police are now saying that the shooting was accidental. According to the police chief and the police union official representing the officer who shot Kinsey, they couldn’t hear Kinsey trying to explain the situation. They didn’t know that the white man was holding a toy truck, and they didn’t know he was autistic. All they knew was what they heard from the 911 caller. They thought it was a gun, and they thought he was going to shoot Kinsey. Apparently, the cop who fired tried to shoot the autistic patient, but missed.
Not surprisingly, protesters demonstrated outside the North Miami Police Department headquarters, demanding answers. From their perspective, here was a guy who did everything he was supposed to do when confronted by police – even going above and beyond just in case – and he still got shot.
The police officer who shot Kinsey is a 30-year-old Hispanic male who’s been on the force for four years. He sent a text message statement to his union rep who read it out loud during a press interview:
“I took this job to save lives and help people. I did what I had to do in a split-second to accomplish that, and hate to hear others paint me as something I’m not.”
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