Unarmed Therapist, With Hands Up, Shot by Police
Charles Kinsey went to retrieve a 23-year-old autistic man who wandered from a mental health center out into the street Monday, and he was shot by police soon after.
The Miami Herald reports that Kinsey, who works at the facility where the man is housed, was shot in the leg by a police officer soon after sitting down next to the man in the middle of the street.
“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 Wednesday. “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.”
Cellphone footage obtained by Napoleon shows a heavyset autistic man sitting and playing with his toy truck while Kinsey obeys police orders to lie down on his back.
The video was recorded before Kinsey was shot. It shows the man on his back with his hands in the air telling police he didn’t have a weapon. He also asked them not to fire. A second video shows officers carrying rifles physically patting down Kinsey and the autistic man as they lay on the ground.
Kinsey said after he was shot, officers flipped him over and handcuffed him. When he asked the officer why he fired his weapon, the cop responded, “I don’t know.”
The investigation has been turned over to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office for review. According to Assistant Police Chief Neal Cuevas, police got a 911 call indicating a man was in the street with a gun threatening to kill himself. They responded, and when the autistic man did not reply, an officer fired three times, striking Kinsey once in the leg.
The officer’s identity has not been revealed to the public. Napoleon is already negotiating a possible settlement with the city of North Miami.
Check back for updates.