Fla. Police Shoot Black Caretaker of Autistic Man Playing With Toy Truck

Charles Kinsey lies in a North Miami, Fla., street with his hands up as he tries to reason with his autistic patient and with police before an officer shoots him July 18, 2016.
WSVN screenshot

A North Miami, Fla., caretaker was shot and wounded by police Monday as he tried to retrieve a 23-year-old autistic man who had wandered from a mental-health center into the street, the Miami Herald reports.

Cellphone video released Wednesday shows the caretaker, Charles Kinsey, lying on the ground, with his hands in the air, trying to reason with police officers as they approach Kinsey and his patient, the autistic man.


“When I went to the ground, I’m going to the ground just like this here, with my hands up,” Kinsey, a behavioral therapist, said, according to WSVN. “And I am laying down here just like this, and I’m telling them again, ‘Sir, there is no need for firearms. I’m unarmed, he’s an autistic guy. He got a toy truck in his hand.’”

Kinsey said that before he got shot, he was trying to calm his patient, who can be heard in the video screaming at Kinsey to "shut up."


"Rinaldo, please be still. Rinaldo, sit down. Rinaldo, lay on your stomach," Kinsey can be heard on the video telling his patient.

Then Kinsey is shot in the leg by a police officer.

“I’m like this right here, and when he shot me, it was so surprising,” Kinsey said. “It was like a mosquito bite, and when it hit me, I’m like, ‘I still got my hands in the air, and I said, ‘No, I just got shot! And I’m saying, ‘Sir, why did you shoot me?’ and his words to me, he said, ‘I don’t know.’


“My life flashed in front of me,” he added. “When he hit me, my first thing I’m thinking, I’m thinking about my family.”

According to WSVN, Kinsey said that what upset him most about the incident was what happened after he was shot.


“They flipped me over, and I’m faced down in the ground, with cuffs on, waiting on the rescue squad to come. I’d say about 20, about 20 minutes it took the rescue squad to get there. And I was like, bleeding—I mean bleeding—and I was like, ‘Wow,’” he told the news station.

On Wednesday evening, a group called the Circle of Brotherhood, which works to solve problems in the community, stood outside the North Miami Police Department, demanding answers in the shooting. Kinsey is a member of the organization.


Kinsey's lawyer, Hilton Napoleon, slammed the police for what he said was an unjustified shooting.

“There’s no justification for shooting an unarmed person who’s talking to you and telling you that they don’t have a gun, and that they’re a mental-health counselor,” Napoleon said.


According to WSVN, the North Miami police have not revealed the officer's name or released any update regarding the investigation. However, the news station notes, the police did say that the state attorney is involved with the investigation.

Police say that they had gotten a 911 call about a man in the street with a gun threatening to kill himself.


Kinsey in the video can be heard clearly identifying the man as his patient and telling officers that the alleged gun was a toy truck, which also appears to be clearly visible to police.

“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,” Kinsey said.


Despite his injury, Kinsey was expected to be home by Thursday, the Miami Herald notes. His wife, Joyce Kinsey, told WSVN, "I'm just grateful he's alive and able to tell his story."


Read more at the Miami Herald and WSVN. 

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