Police Shoot at Autistic Man, Hit His Therapist

A South Florida man has been shot by police for the crime of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and fully complying with police orders.

Charles Kinsey was merely lying prostrate on the ground, with his hands in the air and attempting to calm down the young autistic man whom he cares for, while also communicating all these details to the police holding weapons on both himself and his patient…

…when officers of the North Miami Police Department shot him.

Fox News reports:

Police in South Florida Thursday said they were investigating an officer who shot and wounded an autistic man’s caretaker, as video emerged apparently showing the caretaker lying down with his arms raised before being shot.

 

Police were responding to reports of a man threatening to shoot himself on Monday, North Miami Assistant Police Chief Neal Cuevas told The Miami Herald.

 

Officers arrived to find 47-year-old Charles Kinsey, a therapist who works with people with disabilities, according to WSVN-TV. His 27-year-old patient reportedly ran away from a group home. The therapist claimed he was trying to return his patient to the facility.

 

Police ordered Kinsey and the patient, who was sitting in the street playing with a toy truck, to lie on the ground. The video shows Kinsey lying down and putting his hands up while trying to get his patient to comply.

Mr. Charles Kinsey is a therapist who works with people with disabilities.  He was bringing a 27-year-old autistic man, who had run away, back to the group home when the police received a call about an individual wielding a gun.

It is still unclear if the call was even in regards to Mr. Kinsey and his patient, or someone else entirely.  The only item being held by either man on the video was a toy truck being played with by the patient.

Police report no gun was found after the incident concluded.

Mr. Kinsey did everything he could to comply with police orders and set them at ease.

He immediately laid down on his back and held his arms high in the air.

The autistic patient sat on the ground, but unable to comprehend anything going on, stubbornly continued to play with his toy truck.

Despite the benign appearance of the two men, police took up combat positions.

Video footage shows officers crouching behind their patrol cars with combat rifles shouldered and held firmly on the sitting pair.  The toy is clearly visible on the video — and to police.

Charles Kinsey felt confident that he would be safe as long as he didn’t move and kept his hands high in the air, but he was quite worried the police would misconstrue the actions of his patient as grounds to shoot.

“I was really more worried about him than myself.  Because as long as I have my hands up, they’re not going to shoot me, that’s what I’m thinking.”

Speaking in a loud, steady, clear voice, Mr. Kinsey alternated between asking his patient to stay calm and lay flat, and explaining to the police precisely what was going on.

He told them he was a therapist. He told them the young man sitting there was autistic.  He clearly said they were unarmed — that it was only a toy truck.

“All he has is a toy truck in his hands.  A toy truck.  I am returning him to a group home.”

At no point on the video did either ‘suspect’ make any sudden moves or voice any threats towards the police.  Officers could have easily understood and diffused the situation had they actually listened to Mr. Kinsey’s words — or even taken the simple action of moving closer.

Without any warning from police, and without any provocation, one officer fired three shots, hitting the prostrate and compliant Charles Kinsey in the leg.

The wound was such a shock that Kinsey described his initial reaction as to that of a mosquito bite.  When he asked the officer why he was shot, Kinsey was told “I don’t know.”

Due to the location of the wound, it seems quite likely that the officer was aiming for the autistic patient and merely missed.

For Mr. Kinsey, the most upsetting part of this bizarre altercation was the police treatment of him after his unjustified wounding.  He was searched, handcuffed and rolled over — all the while being left to bleed for an estimated 20 minutes.

The race of the officer has not yet been released due to the racial/police tensions currently running through the nation.

While the investigation is still ongoing, cell phone footage captured so much of the incident — including the calming words of Charles Kinsey — that there is little doubt the police will be found at fault.

The North Miami Police Department will need to review their training to ensure that officers treat future confrontations of this nature with considerably more restraint.