Charles Kinsey, a behavior therapist at a Florida group home for disabled adults, was shot by police Monday evening while trying to help his autistic patient. Cell phone video shows that his hands were in the air moments before he was shot.
Kinsey says that he lay in the street bleeding while North Miami police officers handcuffed him, WSVN reported. He was taken to the hospital with non-threatening injuries.
“I’m going to the ground, just like this with my hands up. And I’m laying down here just like this. And I’m telling him again, ‘Sir, there’s no need for firearms. I’m unarmed, this is an autistic guy. He has a toy truck in his hand,’” Kinsey told WSVN.
Kinsey can be seen on the ground with his hands raised, explaining to officers that he was attempting to help his autistic patient who had run away from the group home.
“I’m like this right here, and when he shot me, it was so surprising,” Kinsey said. “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! And I’m saying, ‘Sir, why did you shoot me?’ and his words to me, he said, ‘I don’t know.’”
At a press conference Thursday morning, North Miami Police Chief Gary C. Eugene said that the investigation into the shooting had been turned over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and that the State Attorney’s office was looking into the case. “I personally have questions,” Eugene said. “I assure you we will get all the answers.” He pledged transparency and objectivity, but did not name the officers involved and did not take questions from reporters.
Eugene said that officers had been responding to a 911 call of a man with a gun threatening suicide, but that no gun was recovered from the scene.
Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, who represents Florida’s 24th District, said the video was “like a nightmare.” Kinsey had her “deepest, deepest sympathy,” she said.
“We say to our boys and our men if you’re ever stopped by the police, freeze don’t move,” she continued. “What else could we have told him? What could have saved him from being shot?”
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