Police refuse to comment on a viral cell phone video that captured the moments before a North Miami police officer shot an unarmed therapist lying on the ground with his hands up while begging officers not to shoot him or his autistic patient. Despite the fact that neither of the men had been armed, an officer appeared to discharge his weapon for no justifiable reason.
Shortly after 5 p.m. on Monday, North Miami police officers reportedly responded to a 911 call concerning a man with a gun threatening to kill himself. When they arrived at the scene, police found Charles Kinsey talking to a 23-year-old autistic patient who had wandered off from a nearby mental health clinic. Instead of holding a gun, the autistic man sat in the street playing with a toy truck.
“All he has is a toy truck in his hands,” Kinsey attempted to explain to the officers in the video while lying on his back in the middle of the street with his hands in the air as the autistic man sat beside him. “I am a behavior tech at a group home. That’s all this is. There is no need for guns.”
Although Kinsey repeatedly pleaded with the officers to de-escalate the situation, they continued shouting commands while holding him and his patient at gunpoint.
Complying with the officers’ orders, Kinsey also pleaded with his confused patient, saying, “Please be still, Rinaldo. Sit down, Rinaldo. Lay on your stomach.”
During an interview with WSVN following the shooting, Kinsey explained with his hands in the air, “I’m like this right here, and when he shot me, it was so surprising. It was like a mosquito bite, and when he hit me, I’m like, ‘I still got my hands in the air,’ and I said, ‘No, I just got shot!’ And I’m saying, ‘Sir, why did you shoot me?’ and his words to me, he said, ‘I don’t know.’”
After firing three bullets and shooting Kinsey in the leg for no apparent reason, the officers appeared in the second portion of the video placing him in handcuffs even though Kinsey had not committed any crime. The officers also refused to give Kinsey any medical attention for 20 minutes as he bled out onto the street.
“They flipped me over, and I’m faced down in the ground, with cuffs on, waiting on the rescue squad to come,” Kinsey recalled. “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.’”
While recovering from the gunshot wound at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Kinsey asserted, “I was really more worried about him than myself. Because as long as I got my hands up, they’re not gonna shoot me. This is what I’m thinking. They’re not gonna shoot me. Wow, was I wrong.”
On Thursday, North Miami Police Chief Gary Eugene reiterated that no weapon had been found at the scene and refused to answer any questions regarding the investigation. Although Eugene did not disclose the name of the officer who shot Kinsey, the police chief confirmed that the state attorney’s office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) have taken over the investigation into the shooting.
“When you shoot a man lying on the ground with his hands up, explaining to you the situation, and you shoot him anyway?” Rep. Frederica Wilson told CNN. “Something’s not right with this picture.”