“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.
54 Black Men And Boys Killed By Police
1. Willie McCoy, 201 of 54
2. Emantic "EJ" Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., 212 of 54
3. Jemel Roberson, 26Source:false 3 of 54
4. DeAndre Ballard, 23Source:false 4 of 54
5. Botham Shem Jean, 26Source:false 5 of 54
6. Antwon Rose Jr., 17Source:false 6 of 54
7. Robert Lawrence White, 41Source:false 7 of 54
8. Anthony Lamar Smith, 24Source:Getty 8 of 54
9. Ramarley Graham, 18Source:Getty 9 of 54
10. Manuel Loggins Jr., 31Source:Getty 10 of 54
11. Trayvon Martin, 17Source:Getty 11 of 54
12. Wendell Allen, 20Source:Getty 12 of 54
13. Kendrec McDade, 19Source:Getty 13 of 54
14. Larry Jackson Jr., 32Source:Getty 14 of 54
15. Jonathan Ferrell, 24Source:Getty 15 of 54
16. Jordan Baker, 26Source:Getty 16 of 54
17. Victor White lll, 22Source:Getty 17 of 54
18. Dontre Hamilton, 31Source:Getty 18 of 54
19. Eric Garner, 43Source:Getty 19 of 54
20. John Crawford lll, 22Source:Getty 20 of 54
21. Michael Brown, 18Source:Getty 21 of 54
22. Ezell Ford, 25Source:Getty 22 of 54
23. Dante Parker, 36Source:Getty 23 of 54
24. Kajieme Powell, 25Source:Getty 24 of 54
25. Laquan McDonald, 17Source:Getty 25 of 54
26. Akai Gurley, 28Source:Getty 26 of 54
27. Tamir Rice, 12Source:Getty 27 of 54
28. Rumain Brisbon, 34Source:Getty 28 of 54
29. Jerame Reid, 36Source:Getty 29 of 54
30. Charly Keunang, 43Source:Getty 30 of 54
31. Tony Robinson, 19Source:Getty 31 of 54
32. Walter Scott, 50Source:Getty 32 of 54
33. Freddie Gray, 25Source:Getty 33 of 54
34. Brendon Glenn, 29Source:Getty 34 of 54
35. Samuel DuBose, 43Source:Getty 35 of 54
36. Christian Taylor, 19Source:Getty 36 of 54
37. Jamar Clark, 24Source:Getty 37 of 54
38. Mario Woods, 26Source:Getty 38 of 54
39. Quintonio LeGrier, 19Source:Getty 39 of 54
40. Gregory Gunn, 58Source:Getty 40 of 54
41. Akiel Denkins, 24Source:Getty 41 of 54
42. Alton Sterling, 37Source:Getty 42 of 54
43. Philando Castile, 32Source:Getty 43 of 54
44. Terrence Sterling, 31Source:Getty 44 of 54
45. Terence Crutcher, 40Source:Getty 45 of 54
46. Keith Lamont Scott, 43Source:Getty 46 of 54
47. Alfred Olango, 38Source:Getty 47 of 54
48. Jordan Edwards, 15Source:Getty 48 of 54
49. Stephon Clark, 22Source:false 49 of 54
50. Danny Ray Thomas, 34Source:false 50 of 54
51. DeJuan Guillory, 27Source:false 51 of 54
52. Patrick Harmon, 5052 of 54
53. Jonathan Hart, 2153 of 54
54. Maurice Granton, 2454 of 54
Unbelivable: Unarmed Black Therapist Shot While Calming Autistic Man was originally published on newsone.com