“I don’t know.”
That’s the response the North Miami police officer gave to shooting victim Charles Kinsey, when he asked why the officer opened fire as he lay flat on the ground, hands outstretched to prove he was no threat to the police.
“I was thinking as long as I have my hands up … they’re not going to shoot me. This is what I’m thinking, they’re not going to shoot me. Wow, was I wrong,” Kinsey, 47, told WSVN from his hospital bed. The Miami Herald reports he suffered a bullet wound to the leg and is expected to be released from Jackson Memorial Hospital on Thursday.
Kinsey’s story is reminiscent of numerous shootings involving the police, in which an unarmed Black suspect is tragically shot and killed. Fortunately, Kinsey is still alive to tell his story, but the trauma of his experience will linger on.
As the July shooting deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, five Dallas officers, and three Baton Rouge cops stays top of mind, it presents a critical conversation for national law enforcement on policing in minority communities, with an added topic of mental health disparities among African-Americans and other disenfranchised groups.
What led up to the shooting began on Monday at the MacTown Panther Group Homes, where Kinsey works as a mental health counselor. He was called outside to retrieve an autistic patient who wandered into the street to play with a toy truck.
Kinsey was just doing his job when police arrived at the scene. Officers, on the other hand, say they received a call reporting an armed man was in the street, threatening to commit suicide.
Cell phone footage released Wednesday shows Kinsey trying to de-escalate the situation, telling his patient to be still and to lie down, while locked in an unthreatening position.
“I was more worried about him than myself,” Kinsey said, according to WSVN. The autistic patient’s name hasn’t been released.
North Miami Police Department’s spokeswoman Natalie Buissereth released the following statement: “Arriving officers attempted to negotiate with the two men on the scene, one of whom was later identified as suffering from autism… At some point during the on-scene negotiation, one of the responding officers discharged his weapon.”
After they shot him, officers rushed Kinsey, searched his body and handcuffed him.
“They flipped me over, and I’m faced down in the ground, with cuffs on, waiting on the rescue squad to come.” Kinsey said. “I’d say about 20, about 20 minutes it took the rescue squad to get there. And I was like, bleeding — I mean bleeding and I was like, ‘Wow.’”
Kinsey’s lawyer Hilton Napoleon told WSVN he’s livid. “There’s no justification for shooting an unarmed person who’s talking to you and telling you that they don’t have a gun, and that they’re a mental health counselor,” Napoleon said. The Herald reports Kinsey and Napoleon are in settlement talks with the city of North Miami.
Police are staying mum on the incident – they haven’t released the name of the responding officer who fired at Kinsey, but have placed him on administrative leave. In response, the state attorney is looking into the investigation, WSVN reports.
There have been no reports that a gun was found near the scene, according to The Miami Herald.
50 Black Men And Boys Killed By Police
1. Emantic "EJ" Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., 211 of 50
2. Jemel Roberson, 26Source:false 2 of 50
3. DeAndre Ballard, 23Source:false 3 of 50
4. Botham Shem Jean, 26Source:false 4 of 50
5. Antwon Rose Jr., 17Source:false 5 of 50
6. Robert Lawrence White, 41Source:false 6 of 50
7. Anthony Lamar Smith, 24Source:Getty 7 of 50
8. Ramarley Graham, 18Source:Getty 8 of 50
9. Manuel Loggins Jr., 31Source:Getty 9 of 50
10. Trayvon Martin, 17Source:Getty 10 of 50
11. Wendell Allen, 20Source:Getty 11 of 50
12. Kendrec McDade, 19Source:Getty 12 of 50
13. Larry Jackson Jr., 32Source:Getty 13 of 50
14. Jonathan Ferrell, 24Source:Getty 14 of 50
15. Jordan Baker, 26Source:Getty 15 of 50
16. Victor White lll, 22Source:Getty 16 of 50
17. Dontre Hamilton, 31Source:Getty 17 of 50
18. Eric Garner, 43Source:Getty 18 of 50
19. John Crawford lll, 22Source:Getty 19 of 50
20. Michael Brown, 18Source:Getty 20 of 50
21. Ezell Ford, 25Source:Getty 21 of 50
22. Dante Parker, 36Source:Getty 22 of 50
23. Kajieme Powell, 25Source:Getty 23 of 50
24. Laquan McDonald, 17Source:Getty 24 of 50
25. Akai Gurley, 28Source:Getty 25 of 50
26. Tamir Rice, 12Source:Getty 26 of 50
27. Rumain Brisbon, 34Source:Getty 27 of 50
28. Jerame Reid, 36Source:Getty 28 of 50
29. Charly Keunang, 43Source:Getty 29 of 50
30. Tony Robinson, 19Source:Getty 30 of 50
31. Walter Scott, 50Source:Getty 31 of 50
32. Freddie Gray, 25Source:Getty 32 of 50
33. Brendon Glenn, 29Source:Getty 33 of 50
34. Samuel DuBose, 43Source:Getty 34 of 50
35. Christian Taylor, 19Source:Getty 35 of 50
36. Jamar Clark, 24Source:Getty 36 of 50
37. Mario Woods, 26Source:Getty 37 of 50
38. Quintonio LeGrier, 19Source:Getty 38 of 50
39. Gregory Gunn, 58Source:Getty 39 of 50
40. Akiel Denkins, 24Source:Getty 40 of 50
41. Alton Sterling, 37Source:Getty 41 of 50
42. Philando Castile, 32Source:Getty 42 of 50
43. Terrence Sterling, 31Source:Getty 43 of 50
44. Terence Crutcher, 40Source:Getty 44 of 50
45. Keith Lamont Scott, 43Source:Getty 45 of 50
46. Alfred Olango, 38Source:Getty 46 of 50
47. Jordan Edwards, 15Source:Getty 47 of 50
48. Stephon Clark, 22Source:false 48 of 50
49. Danny Ray Thomas, 34Source:false 49 of 50
50. DeJuan Guillory, 27Source:false 50 of 50
Unbelivable: Unarmed Black Therapist Shot While Calming Autistic Man was originally published on newsone.com