MIAMI (AP) — A black therapist who was trying to calm an autistic patient in the middle of the street says he was shot by police even though he had his hands in the air and repeatedly told them that no one was armed.
The moments before and after the shooting were recorded on cellphone video and released to local media. The video shows Charles Kinsey lying on the ground with his arms raised, talking to his patient and police throughout the standoff with officers, who appeared to have them surrounded.
“As long as I’ve got my hands up, they’re not going to shoot me. This is what I’m thinking. They’re not going to shoot me,” he told WSVN-TV (http://bit.ly/2ac7zm1 ) from his hospital bed, where he was recovering from a gunshot wound to his leg. “Wow, was I wrong.”
The shooting comes amid weeks of violence involving police. Five officers were killed in Dallas two weeks ago and three law enforcement officers were gunned down Sunday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Before those shootings, a black man, Alton Sterling, 37, was fatally shot during a scuffle with two white officers at a convenience store. In Minnesota, 32-year-old Philando Castile, who was also black, was shot to death during a traffic stop. Cellphone videos captured Sterling’s killing and aftermath of Castile’s shooting, prompting nationwide protests over the treatment of blacks by police.
North Miami Assistant Police Chief Neal Cuevas said the shooting investigation has been turned over to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.
Cuevas said officers responded Monday following reports of a man with a gun threatening to commit suicide. The officers found Kinsey, 47, trying to coax his 27-year-old patient back to a facility from which he had wandered.
Cuevas told The Miami Herald (http://hrld.us/2ahReMa) that police ordered Kinsey and the patient, who was sitting in the street playing with a toy truck, to lie on the ground.
“Lay down on your stomach,” Kinsey says to his patient in the video, which was shot from a distance and provided to the Herald on Wednesday. “Shut up!” responds the patient, who is sitting cross-legged in the road, playing with his toy.
“He has a toy truck in his hand! A toy truck!” Kinsey says to officers who have their guns drawn.
An officer then fired three times, striking Kinsey in the leg, Cuevas said. The video posted on websites does not include the moment of the shooting.
No weapon was found.
“Sir, there’s no need for firearms,” Kinsey said he told police before he was shot, according to WSVN. “It was so surprising. It was like a mosquito bite.”
Kinsey said when he asked the officer why he fired his weapon, the officer responded, “I don’t know.”
Police haven’t released the name or race of the officer who shot him but said he’s been placed on administrative leave, which is standard.
Kinsey’s attorney, Hilton Napoleon, provided the cellphone video to the Herald.