Black Caretaker Shot By Police While Caring For Autistic Man

Photo: WSVN/AP Photo.
Update: The police officer who shot Charles Kinsey, a Black behavior therapist, on Monday did so by accident, according to the head of the police union, reported The Miami Herald. The officer — who has not been named yet — was actually aiming at the autistic patient sitting next to Kinsey but missed and hit Kinsey instead, said John Rivera, head of the Miami-Dade’s Police Benevolent Association. "This is not a case of a rogue cop; this is not a case of police abuse," he said in a press conference, according to NPR. "It appeared to the officers that the white male was trying to do harm to Mr. Kinsey." Officers were responding to a call about an "armed" man who was allegedly threatening to commit suicide. It appears they belatedly realized that the man sitting next to Kinsey had behavioral problems and that he was unarmed, said Rivera. This story was originally published on July 21, 2016.

A Black man was shot by police on Monday while attempting to help the autistic man he takes care of, according to The Miami Herald. In an incident that was caught on cell phone video and released Wednesday, 47-year-old Charles Kinsey, a Black man, was shot in the leg after going to retrieve his charge, a 23-year-old autistic man who wandered away from a mental health center. The footage shows Kinsey, dressed in a yellow shirt, lying on his back with his empty hands held clearly visible over his head. At his feet, his charge sits playing with a toy truck as Kinsey pleads with him to lie down as per the officer’s commands. “Lay on your stomach,” he calls to the young man. The camera pans to the right to show two police officers apparently aiming guns at the pair from behind utility poles. In a moment not captured on video, an officer opens fire, shooting Kinsey in the leg. When the video resumes, a bystander can be heard asking, “But why they shot the Black boy?” Officers can be seen patting down both men, who are now lying on their stomachs. Kinsey says he was rolled over and his hands were handcuffed behind his back after he was shot. In an interview from his hospital bed, Kinsey told local news channel WSVN 7News that when he asked the officer why he fired, the man responded, “I don’t know.” Officers were responding to a call of an armed man threatening suicide, according to NPR. North Miami police confirmed in a press conference that shots were fired, and the officer is now on administrative leave as they investigate the incident. Kinsey’s lawyer, Hilton Napoleon, told The Miami Herald that he was negotiating a possible settlement with the city of North Miami as of Wednesday. Kinsey said that during the incident, he was more worried for his charge than himself. “As long as I’ve got my hands up, they’re not going to shoot me, is what I’m thinking,” Kinsey said. “Wow, was I wrong.”

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