An unarmed black therapist was recently shot by police in North Miami while he had his hands raised from a spread-eagle position on his back. The therapist was simply trying to care for an autistic man who had wandered away from a nearby mental health facility. Police had originally received reports of a suspicious man in the area wielding a gun and threatening suicide. When police arrived in the area and spotted the black man with his patient, they immediately assumed he was a threat, apparently for no reason other than their own prejudice. They got out of their squad car, drew their firearms, aimed them at the two men, both the therapist and the patient, and then issued instructions for Charles Kinsey, the therapist, and his patient to lay on the ground with their hands in the air. There was no apparent cause for the firearms being drawn, nor was there any threat that would have warranted forcing unarmed civilians to lie on the road like criminals.
Kinsey immediately started complying with the officers since he knew he was in the right. He laid on his back, attempting to persuade his autistic patient to do the same. The autistic man was carrying a small toy truck, which investigators believe was what their original tip referred to as a gun and an unstable suicidal individual. Kinsey was able to convince his patient to sit near him, but only Kinsey actually laid out flat as instructed by the officers. During the entire altercation, you can hear from a cell phone video that Kinsey is adequately explaining himself to the officers, both of whom continue to berate and scream at him as if they don’t believe his story.
The unarmed therapist pleaded with officers from his position on the ground. He was more concerned for the safety of his patient, as any respectable doctor would be, but he had no idea that his own safety was in much more jeopardy. During the exchange, one officer discharges his weapon toward Kinsey, where it strikes him in the thigh. He was surprised by the shot since it was completely unprovoked, and when he immediately asked the office why he was shot, the officer responded by saying that he didn’t know.
Once Kinsey was shot, the officers abandoned the safety of their squad car and approached the pair of men. The autistic patient was still sitting relatively quietly, although he was clearly in distress. Even though the police officers appeared to understand the truth of the matter, and that the autistic man was indeed the patient of Charles Kinsey, who was bleeding on the ground before them due to an unjust gunshot wound, they still felt the need to handcuff the behavioral therapist while waiting for an ambulance. They left him lying on the ground, handcuffed and bleeding, while they discussed how to handle the mistake.
Charles Kinsey remembers thinking how insane is was that he experienced such rampant racial persecution simply for performing his job. As an upstanding member of the community, Kinsey didn’t expect the police officers, who are supposed to be on the side of justice, to randomly and ‘accidentally’ shoot an unarmed man lying on his back.
He assumed racism wasn’t powerful enough to envelop him, but he was wrong. The therapist was finally taken to the hospital after an ambulance arrived, and he was treated for his injury. He is expected to make a full physical recovery, but the trauma of experiencing such high levels of police brutality and prejudice will be with him for the rest of his life.
The North Miami Police have yet to issue a statement regarding the consequences for the officer in question, although they have said he was placed on administrative leave. No charges have yet been brought, but the investigation is still ongoing.