An unarmed Florida man is telling his story after he was shot by police while trying to help an autistic patient who escaped from a mental health center.
According to 7 News, the shooting happened on Monday (July 18) but the footage was released Wednesday afternoon (July 20). Charles Kinsey, who has been identified as a caretaker and a behavioral therapist at MacTown Panther Group Homes, was attempting to calm down a 23-year-old autistic man when police arrived. Reportedly several North Miami police officers arrived on the scene following a 911 call about a man wielding a gun in his hand claiming to be suicidal.
Cell phone footage shows Kinsey with his hands up in the air as the autistic patient plays with a plastic object. Kinsey is heard saying, “All he has is a toy truck. A toy truck. I am a behavior therapist at a group home..Rinaldo, please be still, Rinaldo. Sit down, Rinaldo. Lay on your stomach.”
A few minutes later, Kinsey was shot in the leg by an officer. The moment was not captured on camera. “I’m like this right here, and when he shot me, it was so surprising,” Kinsey said from a hospital bed. “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, he said, ‘I don’t know.’”
Kinsey and the autistic patient were searched and handcuffed. When asked why he was shot, Kinsey says he was told by the officer, “I don’t know.”“They realize this was something inappropriate regarding the shooting,” he said. “If police departments come out more and admit fault, that would probably go a long way.”
The North Miami police department released the statement, “arriving officers attempted to negotiate with the two men on the scene, one of whom was later identified as suffering from autism… At some point during the on-scene negotiation, one of the responding officers discharged his weapon.”
The officer who shot Kinsey has been placed on administrative leave.