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Unarmed black therapist shot by police while attempting to calm autistic patient
An unarmed Florida therapist was shot by police while trying to calm down his autistic patient, authorities said.
Police in North Miami were responding to a report of a man with what appeared to be a gun when they came across Charles Kinsey and his patient, who had run away from a group home.
‘All he has is a toy truck — a toy truck,’ Kinsey pleads with cops, lying flat on the ground with arms raised, as seen in cell phone footage of the incident. ‘I am a behavior therapist at a group home.’
Kinsey tries to get his patient to comply, using soothing words so he remains calm.
‘Rinaldo, please be still, Rinaldo,’ he is heard saying in video released by WSVN. ‘Sit down, Rinaldo. Lay on your stomach.’
Kinsey (right) recounts to a local TV station how cops shot him while on the ground and then cuffed him (left)
The man, 23, sits next to him and yells ‘shut up’ while playing with his toy truck.
‘Don’t shoot me,’ Kinsey begs.
An officer then fires three times, striking Kinsey in the leg, authorities said.
No weapon was found.
Kinsey is black. Police haven’t released the name or race of the officer who shot him.
Kinsey, 47, says the 911 caller must have mistaken a toy that the autistic man had for a gun.
‘I’m like this right here, and when he shot me, it was so surprising,’ Kinsey told WSVN.
‘I thought it was a mosquito bite, and when it hit me I had my hands in the air, and I’m thinking I just got shot!
‘And I’m saying, ‘Sir, why did you shoot me?’ and his words to me were, ‘I don’t know.”
After the shooting, Kinsey and his patient were patted down. Kinsey was cuffed.
‘I was really more worried about him than myself,’ he said of his patient.
‘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.’
North Miami police has placed the officer on administrative leave for at least a week,’ the Miami Herald reported.
Kinsey’s lawyer, Hilton Napoleon, said he is in talks with city officials about a possible settlement.
‘They realize this was something inappropriate regarding the shooting,’ Napoleon told the Herald.
‘If police departments come out more and admit fault, that would probably go a long way.’
Kinsey is expected to recover and go home later this week.