“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.
56 Black Men And Boys Killed By Police
1. Jimmy Atchison, 211 of 56
2. Willie McCoy, 202 of 56
3. Emantic "EJ" Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., 213 of 56
4. D’ettrick Griffin, 184 of 56
5. Jemel Roberson, 26Source:false 5 of 56
6. DeAndre Ballard, 23Source:false 6 of 56
7. Botham Shem Jean, 26Source:false 7 of 56
8. Antwon Rose Jr., 17Source:false 8 of 56
9. Robert Lawrence White, 41Source:false 9 of 56
10. Anthony Lamar Smith, 24Source:Getty 10 of 56
11. Ramarley Graham, 18Source:Getty 11 of 56
12. Manuel Loggins Jr., 31Source:Getty 12 of 56
13. Trayvon Martin, 17Source:Getty 13 of 56
14. Wendell Allen, 20Source:Getty 14 of 56
15. Kendrec McDade, 19Source:Getty 15 of 56
16. Larry Jackson Jr., 32Source:Getty 16 of 56
17. Jonathan Ferrell, 24Source:Getty 17 of 56
18. Jordan Baker, 26Source:Getty 18 of 56
19. Victor White lll, 22Source:Getty 19 of 56
20. Dontre Hamilton, 31Source:Getty 20 of 56
21. Eric Garner, 43Source:Getty 21 of 56
22. John Crawford lll, 22Source:Getty 22 of 56
23. Michael Brown, 18Source:Getty 23 of 56
24. Ezell Ford, 25Source:Getty 24 of 56
25. Dante Parker, 36Source:Getty 25 of 56
26. Kajieme Powell, 25Source:Getty 26 of 56
27. Laquan McDonald, 17Source:Getty 27 of 56
28. Akai Gurley, 28Source:Getty 28 of 56
29. Tamir Rice, 12Source:Getty 29 of 56
30. Rumain Brisbon, 34Source:Getty 30 of 56
31. Jerame Reid, 36Source:Getty 31 of 56
32. Charly Keunang, 43Source:Getty 32 of 56
33. Tony Robinson, 19Source:Getty 33 of 56
34. Walter Scott, 50Source:Getty 34 of 56
35. Freddie Gray, 25Source:Getty 35 of 56
36. Brendon Glenn, 29Source:Getty 36 of 56
37. Samuel DuBose, 43Source:Getty 37 of 56
38. Christian Taylor, 19Source:Getty 38 of 56
39. Jamar Clark, 24Source:Getty 39 of 56
40. Mario Woods, 26Source:Getty 40 of 56
41. Quintonio LeGrier, 19Source:Getty 41 of 56
42. Gregory Gunn, 58Source:Getty 42 of 56
43. Akiel Denkins, 24Source:Getty 43 of 56
44. Alton Sterling, 37Source:Getty 44 of 56
45. Philando Castile, 32Source:Getty 45 of 56
46. Terrence Sterling, 31Source:Getty 46 of 56
47. Terence Crutcher, 40Source:Getty 47 of 56
48. Keith Lamont Scott, 43Source:Getty 48 of 56
49. Alfred Olango, 38Source:Getty 49 of 56
50. Jordan Edwards, 15Source:Getty 50 of 56
51. Stephon Clark, 22Source:false 51 of 56
52. Danny Ray Thomas, 34Source:false 52 of 56
53. DeJuan Guillory, 27Source:false 53 of 56
54. Patrick Harmon, 5054 of 56
55. Jonathan Hart, 2155 of 56
56. Maurice Granton, 2456 of 56
Unbelivable: Unarmed Black Therapist Shot While Calming Autistic Man was originally published on newsone.com