Thursday, July 21, 2016

Charles Kinsey did everything he was supposed to do, but North Miami police shot him anyway

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 4:55 PM


We've already established this summer is hellish, but this story takes it to a new level of Dante's Inferno. 

By now you've probably seen the video of Charles Kinsey on the concrete, hands outstretched toward the sky as he tries to convince North Miami Police officers that neither he nor his autistic patient carrying a toy truck have a gun. WSVN 7 reports officers say someone called 911 claiming there was a man walking around with a gun saying he would kill himself. Kinsey, a behavioral therapist at the patient's group home, tells the man to be still, sit down and lay on his stomach. 

"He has a toy truck," Kinsey, a black man, tells the officers. "I am a behavior tech at the group home. That's all it is."

But despite Kinsey doing everything in his power to make sure North Miami Police understand that he and his patient are not a threat, they shoot him anyway. Kinsey tells WSVN 7 the shot felt like a mosquito bite at first, then he realized what had happened. 

"Sir, why did you shoot me?" he asked the cop. "He said, 'I don't know.'"

Kinsey says after police patted him down, they handcuffed him while he was bleeding to wait for the rescue squad, according to WSVN 7. While Kinsey recovers at the hospital, the North Miami Police Department held a press conference Thursday, according to the Miami Herald. They declined to name the officer and say the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is taking over the investigation. 

Part of the problem here is a failing mental health system that forces police to respond to situations where officers may not be trained to help people in mental distress, which can lead to violent escalations, according to The Washington Post. But not many of those encounters probably include a man like Kinsey, who audibly explains the situation in a calm manner to the officer and at the same time, tries his best to convince his patient to lie down. 

And then there's the Spanglish question whoever recorded this incident poses: "Pero why they shot the black boy and not the fat boy?" If the patient is the person who officers believed had the gun, why would they shoot the person next to him who is on his back?

As The Root says, Kinsey is lucky to be alive— he could have very well become the next hashtag in this seemingly endless list of hashtags of people who lost their lives after an encounter with police. 

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