A black therapist who was trying to calm an autistic man in the
middle of the street says he was shot by police even though he had his
hands in the air and repeatedly told them that no one was armed.
moments before the shooting were recorded on cellphone video and show
Charles Kinsey lying on the ground with his arms raised, talking to his
patient and police throughout the standoff with officers, who appeared
to have them surrounded.
“As long as I’ve got my hands up,
they’re not going to shoot me. This is what I’m thinking. They’re not
going to shoot me,” he told WSVN-TV from his hospital bed, where he was
recovering from a gunshot wound to his leg. “Wow, was I wrong.”
shooting comes amid weeks of violence involving police. Five officers
were killed in Dallas two weeks ago and three law enforcement officers
were gunned down Sunday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Before those
shootings, a black man, Alton Sterling, 37, was fatally shot during a
scuffle with two white officers at a convenience store.
In Minnesota, 32-year-old Philando Castile, who was also
black, was shot to death during a traffic stop. Cellphone videos
captured Sterling’s killing and aftermath of Castile’s shooting,
prompting nationwide protests over the treatment of blacks by police.
a news conference Thursday, North Miami Police Chief Gary Eugene said
the investigation had been turned over to the Florida Department of Law
Enforcement and the office of the state’s attorney. He called it a “very
sensitive matter” and promised a transparent investigation, but he
refused to identify the officer or answer reporters’ questions.
realize there are many questions about what happened on Monday night.
You have questions, the community has questions, we as a city, we as a
member of this police department and I also have questions,” he said. “I
assure you we will get all the answers.”
The chief said officers
responded following reports of a man with a gun threatening to kill
himself, and the officers arrived “with that threat in mind” – but no
gun was recovered.
Kinsey, 47, said he was trying to coax his
27-year-old patient back to a facility from which he had wandered.
Police ordered Kinsey and the patient, who was sitting in the street
playing with a toy truck, to lie on the ground.
“Lay down on your
stomach,” Kinsey says to his patient in the video, which was shot from a
distance and provided to the Miami Herald on Wednesday. “Shut up!”
responds the patient, who is sitting cross-legged in the road, playing
with his toy.
“He has a toy truck in his hand! A toy truck!”
Kinsey says to officers who have their guns drawn. Kinsey said he was
more worried about his patient than himself.
An officer later fired three times, striking Kinsey in the leg, assistant police chief Neal Cuevas told the newspaper.
telling them again, ‘Sir, there is no need for firearms. I’m unarmed,
he’s an autistic guy. He got a toy truck in his hand,” Kinsey said.
he shot me, it was so surprising … It was like a mosquito bite, and
when it hit me, I’m like, I still got my hands in the air, and I said,
‘No, I just got shot,'” Kinsey said.
After the shooting, Kinsey said he asked an officer why he was shot and the officer said “‘I don’t know.'”
General Loretta Lynch told reporters the Justice Department is aware of
the shooting and working with local law enforcement to gather all of
the facts and to decide how to proceed.
“We don’t know enough
about it at this point in time,” she said, when asked whether federal
authorities would begin their own investigation.
U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson represents the area and said she was in shock after watching the video.
“From what I saw, he was lying on the ground with his hands up. Freezing. But he was still shot,” she said.
“This is not typical of North Miami,” she said. “We’re not accustomed to this tension. … This cannot happen again.”
The officer has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard.
Kinsey’s attorney, Hilton Napoleon, provided the cellphone video to the Herald.
In an interview with The Associated Press, he declined to say from whom he had obtained the video.
video does not show the moment of the shooting, and Napoleon said there
was about a two-minute gap in which the person who shot the video had
switched off, thinking nothing more noteworthy would happen. It then
briefly shows the aftermath of the shooting.