The next stop on the 2016 police shooting tour takes us to North Miami, Fla., where an employee of an assisted living facility trying to help an autistic man found himself on the ground with his hands in the air, then shot by officers at the scene.
As is often the case, the employee was an unarmed black man.
Charles Kinsey, 47, was trying to calm an autistic resident of the facility after he wandered outside. When North Miami police arrived at the scene, Mr. Kinsey tried to explain to them that he was a behavioral therapist at MacTown Panther Group Homes and that he was attempting to help an autistic resident. He told police that the autistic man did not have a gun, but was in possession of a toy truck.
But it didn’t take long for one of the officers to shoot Mr. Kinsey, despite being on the ground and without a weapon in his possession. Mr. Kinsey told WSVN:
“When I went to the ground, I’m going to the ground just like this here with my hands up, 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.'”
A few minutes later, one of the officers shot Mr. Kinsey.
Mr. Kinsey said that the shot surprised him, like when a mosquito bites unexpectedly. But what’s more disturbing than Mr. Kinsey being shot is what the officer said when asked why he shot him. From CNN:
“‘When he hit me, I’m like, I still got my hands in the air,’ he said.
‘I’m like, sir, why did you shoot me?’ Kinsey said he asked the officer.
‘He said to me, ‘I don’t know.'”
After Kinsey was shot, officers flipped him over and cuffed him. According to Mr. Kinsey, he was left on the ground for 20 minutes before an ambulance arrived.
North Miami police haven’t released the name of the officer who shot Mr. Kinsey, but has stated the officer is on administrative leave following the incident. There is also no word as to whether the officer who shot Mr. Kinney will face charges for the shooting. The department did, however, release a statement about the incident, saying in part:
“There is preliminary information that North Miami Police Officers were dispatched to the scene after a 911 call was received of an armed male suspect threatening suicide. Arriving officers attempted to negotiate with two men on the scene, one of whom was later identified as suffering from autism. The other man was later identified as an employee of an assisted living facility. At some point during the on-scene negotiation, one of the responding officers discharged his weapon, striking the employee.”
So the police shooting tour continues. The thin blue line continues to thicken. Every time a police shooting takes place, especially when deadly force is used against an unarmed person, this conversation reignites, but is anything really accomplished? Or are we merely content with talking about it for a bit while just anticipating the next police shooting of an unarmed person?
Thankfully, this time, the unarmed person shot by a trigger-happy cop didn’t die. He’s alive to tell his tale, something so many others weren’t granted from their interactions? Thankfully, Charles Kinsey didn’t end up like Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Mike Brown, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant or little Aiyana Jones. Thankfully, Charles Kinsey wasn’t forever silenced by a bullet and a badge.
Are we going to do something about police shooting unarmed people this time, or are we again just going to put if off until the next one?
Or the next one?
Or the one after that?
Featured image via YouTube.