In yet another murdering of black people by American police, an autistic man’s therapist was shot by police in Florida while he lay on the street with his hands in the air.
Charles Kinsey works with people disabilities, and was trying to help his 27-year-old patient back to the facility from where he had wandered from when the encounter happened.
North Miami assistant police chief Neal Cuevas told the Miami Herald that police, who were responding to reports of a man threatening to shoot himself, told Kinsey and his patient, who was sitting on the floor playing with a toy truck, to lie on the ground. Kinsey later said that the patient’s toy truck had been mistaken for a gun.
Kinsey lay on the floor and put his hands up while trying to get his patient to co-operate. The officer fired three times, hitting Kinsey in the leg. No weapons were found on either of the men.
The therapist’s lawyer gave the Herald a video of the moments leading up to the shooting, which shows Kinsey lying in the street with his hands showing, asking the officers not to shoot him. He says, “All he has is a toy truck. A toy truck. I’m a behaviour therapist at a group home.” His patient can be seen sitting next to him, shouting at him to “shut up.”
Despite his explanation, Mr Kinsey was shot in the leg and then briefly handcuffed before he was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Kinsey told the Herald from his hospital bed that he told the police, “Sir, there’s no need for firearms.”
“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.’”
“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. I said, ‘You know, I just got shot.’ And I’m saying to them, ‘Sir, why did you shoot me?’ And his words to me, he said, ‘I don’t know.’”
North Miami Police Department are yet to name the officer who fired the shots, but they have told local TV station he’s has been put on administrative leave as the shooting is investigated.
Kinsey added that he was more worried about his patient than himself; “I was really more worried about him than myself, because 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.’ Wow, was I wrong.”