After days of silence, an answer emerges on behalf of the North Miami Police Department in response to why one of their officers shot a mental health worker as he lay flat with his arms outstretched.
John Rivera, head of the Miami-Dade’s Police Benevolent Association, said the officer was actually aiming for the autistic man sitting next to Charles Kinsey, an astonishing admission, The Miami Herald reports.
“I couldn’t allow this to continue for the community’s sake,” Rivera said Thursday during a press conference. “Folks, this is not what the rest of the nation is going through.”
The department remains tight-lipped on the officer’s name. North Miami Police Chief Gary Eugene released descriptive details: he’s a 30-year-old Hispanic male who’s been on the force for four years. The officer is also a part of the city’s SWAT team, according to The Miami Herald.
Though not present in body, Rivera read the officer’s prepared statement outlining his discontent with the public’s perceptions of him.
“I took this job to save lives and help people. I did what I had to do in a split second to accomplish that and hate to hear others paint me as something that I’m not,” the cop said.
The shooting occurred on Monday after officers were told a suicidal armed man was in the area.
When they arrived, they found Kinsey and the 23-year-old autistic man in the street. Kinsey, a caretaker at MacTown Panther Group Home, was called by his job to retrieve the young man, who wandered away to play with his toy truck. Cell phone footage shows Kinsey lying on the ground with his hands raised. In an interview with WSVN from his hospital bed, Kinsey said he repeatedly told police that he was unarmed and not to shoot.
Police said they fired from a distance, and could not hear Kinsey or tell that the young man was autistic. Officers said they responded with gunfire after the patient was unresponsive to their calls to get down, and loaded what they thought was a gun. They fired three shots, one of them hitting Kinsey in the leg. The gun turned out to be a toy car.
The footage of Kinsey lying suspended caught national attention, tightening the strain between law enforcement and minority communities.
On Thursday evening, around 40 Black Lives Matter protesters gathered at the North Miami police headquarters, demanding the officer’s termination.
Kinsey’s shooting opens up a larger discussion surrounding de-escalation and mental health training for law enforcement. During Thursday’s press conference, Rivera said it was unclear if the officer attended crisis intervention training. According to The Herald, officers in the North Miami Police Department are not required to partake.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle told The Herald her office would wait to determine the need to press criminal charges until an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement was completed.
The ACLU and civil liberties advocates are appalled at the shooting, calling for further examination of how officers are trained.
“There must be a thorough and independent investigation into this shooting that covers both whether officers violated internal use of deadly force policies and whether criminal charges should be brought,” said Howard Simon, the ACLU’s executive director.
64 Black Men And Boys Killed By Police
1. De'Von Bailey, 191 of 64
2. Eric Logan, 542 of 64
3. Jamarion Robinson, 263 of 64
4. Gregory Hill Jr., 304 of 64
5. JaQuavion Slaton, 205 of 64
6. Ryan Twyman, 246 of 64
7. Brandon Webber, 207 of 64
8. Jimmy Atchison, 218 of 64
9. Willie McCoy, 209 of 64
10. Emantic "EJ" Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., 2110 of 64
11. D’ettrick Griffin, 1811 of 64
12. Jemel Roberson, 26Source:false 12 of 64
13. DeAndre Ballard, 23Source:false 13 of 64
14. Botham Shem Jean, 26Source:false 14 of 64
15. Robert Lawrence White, 41Source:false 15 of 64
16. Anthony Lamar Smith, 24Source:Getty 16 of 64
17. Ramarley Graham, 18Source:Getty 17 of 64
18. Manuel Loggins Jr., 31Source:Getty 18 of 64
19. Trayvon Martin, 17Source:Getty 19 of 64
20. Wendell Allen, 20Source:Getty 20 of 64
21. Kendrec McDade, 19Source:Getty 21 of 64
22. Larry Jackson Jr., 32Source:Getty 22 of 64
23. Jonathan Ferrell, 24Source:Getty 23 of 64
24. Jordan Baker, 26Source:Getty 24 of 64
25. Victor White lll, 22Source:Getty 25 of 64
26. Dontre Hamilton, 31Source:Getty 26 of 64
27. Eric Garner, 43Source:Getty 27 of 64
28. John Crawford lll, 22Source:Getty 28 of 64
29. Michael Brown, 18Source:Getty 29 of 64
30. Ezell Ford, 25Source:Getty 30 of 64
31. Dante Parker, 36Source:Getty 31 of 64
32. Kajieme Powell, 25Source:Getty 32 of 64
33. Laquan McDonald, 17Source:Getty 33 of 64
34. Akai Gurley, 28Source:Getty 34 of 64
35. Tamir Rice, 12Source:Getty 35 of 64
36. Rumain Brisbon, 34Source:Getty 36 of 64
37. Jerame Reid, 36Source:Getty 37 of 64
38. Charly Keunang, 43Source:Getty 38 of 64
39. Tony Robinson, 19Source:Getty 39 of 64
40. Walter Scott, 50Source:Getty 40 of 64
41. Freddie Gray, 25Source:Getty 41 of 64
42. Brendon Glenn, 29Source:Getty 42 of 64
43. Samuel DuBose, 43Source:Getty 43 of 64
44. Christian Taylor, 19Source:Getty 44 of 64
45. Jamar Clark, 24Source:Getty 45 of 64
46. Mario Woods, 26Source:Getty 46 of 64
47. Quintonio LeGrier, 19Source:Getty 47 of 64
48. Gregory Gunn, 58Source:Getty 48 of 64
49. Akiel Denkins, 24Source:Getty 49 of 64
50. Alton Sterling, 37Source:Getty 50 of 64
51. Philando Castile, 32Source:Getty 51 of 64
52. Terrence Sterling, 31Source:Getty 52 of 64
53. Terence Crutcher, 40Source:Getty 53 of 64
54. Keith Lamont Scott, 43Source:Getty 54 of 64
55. Alfred Olango, 38Source:Getty 55 of 64
56. Jordan Edwards, 15Source:Getty 56 of 64
57. Stephon Clark, 22Source:false 57 of 64
58. Danny Ray Thomas, 34Source:false 58 of 64
59. DeJuan Guillory, 27Source:false 59 of 64
60. Patrick Harmon, 5060 of 64
61. Jonathan Hart, 2161 of 64
62. Maurice Granton, 2462 of 64
63. Julius Johnson, 2363 of 64
STILL TERRIBLE: Cop Says He Was Firing At Autistic Man, Not Mental Health Counselor was originally published on newsone.com