Shooting of Charles Kinsey

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Shooting of Charles Kinsey
Charles Kinsey with arms raised before being shot by police.jpg
Cellphone video footage, showing mental health therapist Charles Kinsey lying on the ground with his arms raised in North Miami, Florida, before being shot by police. Kinsey's patient is seated beside him.
Date July 18, 2016 (2016-07-18)
Time 5:45 p.m.
Location Northeast 127th Street and 14th Avenue, North Miami, Florida, U.S.
Coordinates 25.892661, -80.170422
Type Shooting
Filmed by Bystander's cell phone
Participants Jonathan Aledda (officer)
Outcome Shooting officer charged with attempted manslaughter and negligence
Non-fatal injuries Charles Kinsey
Accused Jonathan Aledda
Charges Attempted manslaughter, negligence
Litigation Kinsey filed federal lawsuit against SWAT officer

On July 18, 2016, Charles Kinsey, a mental health therapist, was shot by police in North Miami, Florida. Kinsey, an African-American man, had been retrieving his autistic 23-year-old patient, who had wandered from his group home. Police encountered the pair while searching for an armed suicidal man. Kinsey was lying on the ground with his hands in the air and trying to negotiate between officers and his patient when he was shot.

Both Kinsey and his patient were unarmed. Following the shooting, Kinsey stated he was handcuffed and left bleeding on the ground for 20 minutes with police giving him no medical aid. Authorities stated that they were investigating the incident, which received significant media attention following the appearance of cellphone video footage. The officer who shot Kinsey was arrested in 2017 and charged with attempted manslaughter and negligence. However, he remains employed and has not been terminated.

Background[edit]

On July 18, 2016, shortly before 5:00 p.m. EDT, a 23-year-old autistic man with a toy truck left a mental health facility, identified as MacTown Panther Group Homes.[1] Charles Kinsey, a 47-year-old mental health worker, left the facility to find and retrieve the patient.[1] Kinsey had worked at the facility for over a year, was involved in community efforts to keep local kids in school, and is the father of five children.[1][2] According to NPR, Kinsey has been a member of the local "Circle of Brotherhood" group whose mission, as listed on Facebook, is "Serving and Protecting our Community".[3]

The police stated that they were responding to reports of a man threatening to shoot himself in the area, at Northeast 127th Street and 14th Avenue.[4] Police received a call around 5:30 p.m.[5] The North Miami Assistant Police Chief, Neal Cuevas, said that the autistic man did not comply with orders when they arrived on the scene.[1]

Shooting[edit]

While Kinsey lay on the ground with his hands raised, one officer, identified by the city as Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team member Jonathan Aledda, fired three rounds from a rifle, with one bullet striking Kinsey in the leg.[1][6] The shooting occurred a block from the group home where Kinsey worked at 1365 NE 128th St.[7]

Kinsey's lawyer Hilton Napoleon II provided the Miami Herald with a cellphone video of Kinsey lying on the ground, his hands in the air, moments before the shooting.[4] In the video Kinsey asks police not to shoot him, while his patient plays with his toy truck. Kinsey stated that he was trying to convince his patient to obey officers' commands.[1] The video also shows Kinsey telling police that he is unarmed.[1] In the video Kinsey is seen telling police, "All he has is a toy truck. A toy truck. I am a behavior therapist at a group home."[8] Kinsey is also shown telling his patient, "Please be still... lay down on your stomach."[8]

Kinsey stated that after being shot, police turned him on his back, handcuffed him, and left him bleeding on the road for 20 minutes.[5] Police did nothing to stop Kinsey's bleeding before an ambulance arrived.[9] A second video shows officers carrying rifles and patting down Kinsey and his patient while they lie on the ground.[1]

Aftermath[edit]

A witness to the shooting told the Associated Press that when police arrived, he grabbed binoculars and saw that the autistic man seated in the road, next to Kinsey, was holding a toy truck. He informed an officer that the man was holding a toy and not a gun, but she told him to back up, and did not inform other officers. Kinsey was shot shortly afterwards.[10]

Official accounts show that at least 30 seconds before shots were fired, an officer clearly identified the item as a toy truck and shared the information with all the other police officers at the scene via radio.[11]

Kinsey survived the shooting after being taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital.[1][5][12] Kinsey said that at first his life flashed before his eyes, and thought of his family.[13] Kinsey added that being shot "was so surprising, it was like a mosquito bite." According to Kinsey, when he asked the officer why he had shot him, the officer replied, "I don't know."[1][5] Kinsey's lawyer stated that when another officer asked the shooting officer "why did you shoot this guy", the shooter again responded, "I don't know."[14]

Kinsey stated that he was more worried about his patient, who did not have his hands raised, and did not believe he himself would be shot.[5] "As long as I've got my hands up, they're not gonna shoot me, that's what I'm thinking," Kinsey said. "Wow, I was wrong."[8] Kinsey's wife said, "I'm just grateful he's alive and able to tell his story."[1]

Following the shooting, the name of the police officer who shot Kinsey was not immediately revealed to the public.[1] Napoleon said that he believed the officer was a white male.[15] The officer was placed on administrative leave,[5] and in addition, police announced that the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office would assist with an ongoing investigation.[8] Police announced that the shooter was a 30-year-old Hispanic officer who had worked in the police department for four years, and was a member of the SWAT team.[10][16] Miami police subsequently identified the officer as Jonathan Aledda.[6] A second officer was suspended without pay for giving conflicting accounts of the shooting.[6]

A police department employee told the Herald that the officer fired because the autistic patient did not obey police commands.[17] On July 22, the head of the local police union, John Rivera, said that the officer who fired the bullets was aiming for Kinsey's patient, and was "trying to save Kinsey's life."[18] Rivera said that Kinsey "did everything right."[18] In response to Rivera's statements, Napoleon and some media outlets questioned the explanation that Kinsey was shot accidentally, and asked why Kinsey was handcuffed and left bleeding on the ground after being shot.[6][19][20]

Lawsuit[edit]

On August 3, 2016, Kinsey filed a federal lawsuit against Jonathan Aledda, claiming he violated his civil rights, and used excessive force and falsely arrested him. In his complaint, Kinsey states that Aledda violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free from excessive force during police seizures when he shot him in the leg. He also states that Aledda put handcuffs on him that were too tight, cutting off his circulation.[21]

Charges[edit]

On April 12, 2017, Jonathan Aledda was arrested on charges of attempted manslaughter and negligence for his role in the affair.[22] The Miami-Dade County Criminal Justice Online Systems state case number is 13-2017-CF-007072-0001-XX.

Reactions[edit]

After the release of the video, Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson tweeted that she was shocked and angered by Kinsey's shooting, writing that "Like everyone else I have one question: Why?"[23]

On Thursday after the shooting, Black Lives Matter activists protested outside the North Miami police department, stating that it was Kinsey who was "protecting and serving" in the incident, and confronting police officials.[7][24] Protestors demanded that the shooting officer be fired.[7]

NPR wrote that the incident "has renewed discussions of officers' use of force".[3]

Internationally, France TV wrote that while the incident could have ended far more tragically, it was "no less absurd and worrisome", calling the event "surreal".[25] Le Figaro wrote that the story broke at a time when the United States has been "plagued by intense controversy following the death of several blacks shot by police, and attacks on five policemen."[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Rabin, Charles (July 20, 2016). "Cop shoots caretaker of autistic man playing in the street with toy truck". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on July 22, 2016. Retrieved July 21, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Therapist with hands up shot by police while helping autistic patient". The Times Picayune. Washington Post. July 21, 2016. Retrieved July 21, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Chappell, Bill (July 21, 2016). "Black Man Says He Was Shot By North Miami Police While Lying On The Ground". NPR. Retrieved July 21, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "Florida police shoot black man lying down with arms in air". The Guardian. Associated Press. July 21, 2016. Retrieved July 21, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Unarmed man shot by Miami police asks: 'Why?' says officer replied: 'I don't know'". CBC News. Associated Press. July 21, 2016. Retrieved July 21, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c d Bult, Laura (July 22, 2016). "Miami police officer identified in shooting of black therapist". New York Daily News. Retrieved July 22, 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c Rabin, Charles; Ovalle, David; Harris, Alex (July 22, 2016). "Bullet that struck mental health worker was meant to protect him, police union says". The News Observer. Retrieved July 22, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b c d Berlinger, Joshua (July 21, 2016). "Miami shooting: Man shot by cops was lying down with hands up, lawyer says". CNN. Retrieved July 21, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Therapist cares for autistic patient - and is shot". Die Welt. Reuters. July 21, 2016. Retrieved July 21, 2016. 
  10. ^ a b Spencer, Terry (July 22, 2016). "Witness to Florida police shooting says he tried to warn officers". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. Retrieved July 22, 2016. 
  11. ^ "North Miami Officer Is Arrested Over Shooting Of Therapist During Standoff". NPR.org. Retrieved 2017-04-23. 
  12. ^ Amanda Batchelor, Todd Tongen & Carlos Suarez (July 21, 2016). "Video shows man on ground with his hands up before being shot by police". WJXT. Retrieved July 21, 2016. 
  13. ^ Miller, Michael (July 21, 2016). "Fla. police shoot black man with his hands up as he tries to help autistic patient". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 21, 2016. 
  14. ^ Bagg, Marissa (July 21, 2016). "New Video Shows Moments Before and After Man Was Shot by North Miami Police Officer". NBC Miami. Retrieved July 21, 2016. 
  15. ^ Miller, Michael (July 21, 2016). "Miami police shoot black man with his hands up trying to help autistic patient". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved July 21, 2016. 
  16. ^ "'He missed': Fla. Officer Who Shot Therapist Was Aiming For Man With Autism, Police Say". KFSM KXNW. CNN Wire. July 22, 2016. Retrieved July 22, 2016. 
  17. ^ "Polizeigewalt in Amerika Schwarzer Pfleger von Polizist angeschossen". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. July 21, 2016. Retrieved July 21, 2016. 
  18. ^ a b Chappell, Bill (July 22, 2016). "North Miami Officer Was Aiming At Man With Autism, Union Chief Says". NPR. Retrieved July 22, 2016. 
  19. ^ Rabin, Charles (July 22, 2016). "Kinsey attorney skeptical of cop's claim caregiver was shot accidentally". Miami Herald. Retrieved July 26, 2016. 
  20. ^ Wing, Nick (July 21, 2016). "The Most Disturbing Part About The Charles Kinsey Police Shooting". Huffington Post. Retrieved July 26, 2016.  On July 22, 2016 Larry M. Spring Jr., the North Miami city manager, said at a news conference that Cmdr. Emile Hollant had been placed on leave due to "evidence of conflicting statements" he gave to investigators. Berman, Mark. "Second North Miami police officer on leave for 'conflicting statements' about shooting of unarmed man". Retrieved July 22, 2016. 
  21. ^ Muhammad, Latifah (August 7, 2016). "Charles Kinsey: Unarmed Florida Therapist Shot With His Hands Up Files Lawsuit". Yahoo News. Retrieved August 8, 2016. 
  22. ^ Chappell, Bill (April 12, 2017). "North Miami Officer Is Arrested Over Shooting Of Therapist During Standoff". NPR. Retrieved April 12, 2017. 
  23. ^ Ortiz, Eric (July 21, 2016). "Cops Shoot Unarmed Caregiver With His Hands Up While He Helps Man". NBC News. Retrieved July 21, 2016. 
  24. ^ Kaestle, Shannon (July 21, 2016). ""I'm tired of all of it": Black Lives Matter rallies at North Miami Police station". Miami Herald. Retrieved July 22, 2016. 
  25. ^ "Etats-Unis : un Noir, allongé au sol les mains en l'air, se fait tirer dessus par la police en allant récupérer un patient autiste". France TV. July 21, 2016. Retrieved July 21, 2016. 
  26. ^ Vergne, Charline (July 21, 2016). "États-Unis : la police tire sur un éducateur noir non armé". Le Figaro. Retrieved July 21, 2016.