Update: The police officer who shot an autistic man's therapist actually intended to shoot the patient, believing he was a threat to the caretaker.
John Rivera, president of the Police Benevolent Association in Dade County, said, "It appears to the officers that the white male was trying to do harm to Mr. Kinsey. In fearing for Mr. Kinsey's life, the officer discharged his firearm trying to save Mr. Kinsey's life and he missed."
The 47-year-old is currently recovering from his gunshot wound at a nearby hospital, CNN reported.
Police officials have identified the cop responsible for shooting Kinsey as Jonathan Aledda, a member of the department's SWAT team. Aledda has been placed on administrative leave.
In addition to Aledda, Commander Emile Hollant has also been suspended without pay after giving conflicting statements to investigators.
An unarmed black man was shot by North Miami, Florida, police while he was trying to calm his autistic patient — and while his hands were up.
Charles Kinsey, 47, a behavioral therapist, went out to retrieve a patient who had wandered outside with a toy truck. The mentally disabled man was sitting on the middle of the road blocking traffic and as Kinsey went to get him, he was struck in the leg with a bullet.
The cell phone video released Wednesday shows Kinsey lying prone on the ground with his hands up in the air.
“I’m going to the ground, just like this with my hands up. And I’m laying down here just like this. And I’m telling him again, ‘Sir, there’s no need for firearms. I’m unarmed, this is an autistic guy. He has a toy truck in his hand,’” Kinsey told WSVN.
When Kinsey asked the cop why he opened fire on him, he was met with a ridiculous, “I don’t know.”
Even after being shot, Kinsey was most concerned about his patient’s wellbeing. Afraid he would be shot as well, Kinsey kept asking his patient to lie down on his stomach.
Police in North Miami, Florida, said officers responded to a 911 call that reported a man with a gun threatening to commit suicide. However, Kinsey later said the witness mistook the toy truck the patient was playing with for a gun.
He also said the worst part was how the police treated him after shooting him. They rushed up to him, flipped him on his stomach, patted him down and handcuffed him like a criminal for no reason.
“My life flashed in front of me,” Kinsey said. “When he hit me, my first thing I’m thinking, I’m thinking about my family.”
Hilton Napoleon, Kinsey’s lawyer, is infuriated at the whole incident.
“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.
A group called Circle of Brotherhood took a stand outside the North Miami police station Wednesday evening, to demand transparency on what caused the officer to fire and whether he will face any charges.
North Miami police said the officer responsible was placed on administrative leave, but have not released his name or whether he will face any charges.
The incident is the latest one in a string of shooting by police officers on unarmed black men. Since Alton Sterling and Philando Castille's deaths and the subsequent fatal shooting of Dallas and Baton Rouge police officers, the entire nation has been embroiled in a heated debate about police accountability, institutional racism and Black Lives Matter. To open fire on an unarmed health worker for no reason whatsoever can only build resentment that will alienate law enforcement agencies even more from African-American communities.
Predictably, people have turned to social media to give their views on the uncalled-for shooting.
Charles Kinsey was unarmed. Had his hands up. Lying on the ground. Helping an autistic man. Police still shot him. https://t.co/4C8LTy546n— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) July 21, 2016
Shooting unarmed black ppl has become a sport. Thankful that #CharlesKinsey is alive to tell about it.— big mad (@_thegoodonesgo) July 21, 2016
They say Black folks need 2 go 2 college.Get off the streets:— Moska Justine™ ☯ (@moskaezul) July 21, 2016
But a behavior therapist treating an autistic patient got shot #CharlesKinsey
Another thing black people can't do without getting shot by police: Be a behavior therapist treating an autistic patient. #CharlesKinsey— TC (@tchop__StL) July 21, 2016
People are also calling out the witness who called 911 for acting brashly and misinforming the responders.
For the record: if it isn't an imminent threat to you, or your family STOP calling 911 & getting people shot for no reason #CharlesKinsey— Alaina Fruge' (@MissFruge) July 21, 2016
Imagine if there wasn't a camera. "I felt threatened. I thought I saw a gun. He was resisting." Just glad he survived #CharlesKinsey— Beauty in Color (@PoCBeauty) July 21, 2016