Video has surfaced of an unarmed man raising his arms and begging officers not to shoot, moments before they shoot him in the leg. Behavioral therapist Charles Kinsey was laying in the middle of a North Miami road and trying to assist his autistic patient when an officer opened fire.
Kinsey survived the shot, and recounted what happened Monday when officers were called about a gunman threatening suicide. Kinsey’s patient, Rinaldo, escaped from a group home holding a toy car, but the person who called 911 said he was armed. In cellphone footage that captured the moments leading up to the shooting, Kinsey is laying on his back with his arms up, explaining to police that he was unarmed and helping his patient who was clearly holding a toy. At the same time, he tries to convince Rinaldo to get on his stomach.
Witnesses didn’t film the shooting itself, but Kinsey was struck in the leg. From his hospital bed, he told a local news station that officers patted him down, flipped him over, and handcuffed him right after the shot. It took 20 minutes for medics to arrive. And when Kinsey asked why he was shot, the officer responsible didn’t have a reason.
“And I’m saying, ‘Sir, why did you shoot me?’ and his words to me were, ‘I don’t know,’” Kinsey said.
Watch the video:
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Kinsey survived, but later said he was more concerned about his patient during the encounter. “I was really more worried about him than myself. I was thinking as long as I have my hands up … they’re not going to shoot me. This is what I’m thinking, they’re not going to shoot me. Wow, was I wrong,” he told reporters.
About half of the people shot every year by police have a disability. Few police departments have specialized training for how to interact with people with “physical, cognitive, and developmental handicaps,” according to Rolling Without Limits, a blog dedicated to disability advocacy. In February, Maryland became the first state to mandate a disability sensitivity training program.
On Thursday, North Miami’s police union chief said the shooting officer attempted to shoot Rinaldo because he felt threatened. The officer struck Kinsey accidentally. Rinaldo, who was handcuffed at the scene, has also been hospitalized.