Charles Kinsey shooting: Unarmed black care worker shot by US police while he was calming autistic patient

Behavioural therapist attempting to explain his autistic patient had a toy truck – not a weapon – when officers opened fire

Harry Cockburn
Saturday 23 July 2016 00:02
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Unarmed black care worker shot by US police while he was calming autistic patient

An unarmed care worker was shot by police in North Miami while attempting to calm down his autistic patient.

Charles Kinsey, a behavioural therapist, had his hands up and said he was unarmed when police marksmen opened fire.

The incident occurred after police responded to an emergency call reporting a man with a gun threatening to commit suicide.

Mr Kinsey later said the patient’s toy truck had been mistaken for a gun.

Video of the incident shows Mr Kinsey lying on the ground and trying to calm down his patient, who was sitting next to him.

He can be heard in the footage of the incident trying to explain the situation to the police.

“All he has is a toy truck. A toy truck. I'm a behaviour therapist at a group home,” Mr Kinsey can be heard saying.

Despite Mr Kinsey’s reassurances, he was shot in the leg, and then briefly handcuffed by officers before being taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Speaking to reporters from his hospital bed after he was shot, Mr Kinsey told WSVN TV: “I’m going to the ground, just like this with my hands up. And I’m laying down here just like this. And I’m telling him again, ‘Sir, there’s no need for firearms. I’m unarmed, this is an autistic guy. He has a toy truck in his hand.’”

“When he shot me, it was so surprising. It was like a mosquito bite. And when he hit me, I’m like, I still got my hands in the air. I said, ‘You know, I just got shot.’ And I’m saying to them, ‘Sir, why did you shoot me?’ And his words to me, he said, ‘I don’t know.’”

The policeman who shot Mr Kinsey has been put on administrative leave as the shooting is investigated, North Miami Police Department told WPLG TV.

During the incident, Mr Kinsey was more worried about his patient than himself, he told reporters.

He said: “I was really more worried about him than myself, because as long as I’ve got 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.”

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