UPDATE: According to The Miami Herald, the head of the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association, John Rivera, has announced in a press conference Thursday that the officer was actually trying to protect Kinsey. According to Rivera, the officer was trying to shoot the autistic man thinking he was a danger to Kinsey but ended up missing.
Read the original article below:
A cellphone video of an autistic man’s caretaker, Charles Kinsey, lying on the street with his hands up in the air next to an autistic man before being shot by cops in the leg has gone viral, sparking an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office and has raised questions in the community.
“He throws his hands up in the air and says, ‘Don’t shoot me.’ They say lie on the ground, so he does,” Kinsey’s attorney, Hilton Napoleon, told The Miami Herald Wednesday. “He’s on his back with his hands in the air trying to convince the man to lie down. It doesn’t make any sense.”
As you watch the cellphone video, you can hear Kinsey shout, “All he has is a toy truck. A toy truck. I am a behavior therapist at a group home,” before asking his patient, Rinaldo, to stop moving and to lie down. According to Kinsey, he was more worried about his patient then he was about himself.
During an exclusive interview with Miami’s Channel 7, Kinsey said that he was surprised when the officer shot his leg and when he asked him why he shot him, the officer responded with ‘I don’t know.’
The actual shooting was not caught on video but Kinsey claims that he had his hands up the entire time. After he was shot, Kinsey says that the police patted him down and put him in handcuffs.
“I realize that there are many questions about what happened Monday night. You have questions, the community have questions, we as a city and as members of the police department and I personally have questions,” Chief Gary C. Eugene of the North Miami Police Department said in a press conference Tuesday morning. “I assure you, we will get all the answers.”
Eugene requested that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement handle this case but that as soon as they and the State Attorney’s office finish their investigation- as Florida law states- the case will return to the North Miami Police Department so they can make their own internal investigation.
According to Eugene, around 5:01p.m., police received a call about a man who planned to kill himself with a gun and the officers arrived at the scene “with that threat in mind.”
“We have witness statements that there was a gun, we have the 911 call with that same information,” Eugene said. “However, I want to make it clear that there was no gun recovered.”
Eugene said that the investigation of the police shooting is being conducted as required by law and will require them to “gather every fact and answer every question before making a pronounced judgment.”
“I can assure you our department is committed to keeping the community safe,” Eugene said. “As your newly appointed police chief, with my management- my team- in place, transparency and justice for all will be the norm as we [move forward.]”
During the press conference, Florida Representative Frederica Wilson called the video a nightmare and said that incidents like this shouldn’t happen in North Miami because the citizens and the police “gel” and so many of the officers “come from the community, live in the community [and] work with the community.”
According to Wilson, every month for the past 20 years, the congressional district 24 honors the Police Man of The Month at the North Miami Chambers of Commerce Luncheon so they know the officers and “trust them.”
Wilson said that the North Miami community loves the police, are pro-police and know that when the police “breaks down the county is dissolved” but that today she is in “absolute shock” with what she saw of the video.
Wilson gave her deepest sympathy’s to Kinsey and doesn’t understand what more he could have done to avoid getting shot.
“From what I saw, he was lying down on the ground with his hands up- freezing-being rational and he was still shot,” she said.
The unnamed officer is on administrative leave but The Miami Herald reports that Kinsey’s lawyer, Napoleon, is already negotiating a settlement with the city of North Miami because “they realize[ed] this was something inappropriate regarding the shooting.”
Image retrieved from Flickr.