An as-yet unnamed North Miami Police officer who shot a behavioral therapist attempting to calm a distressed autistic man who was carrying a toy truck, was apparently aiming for that autistic patient, a union official said Thursday.
How, exactly, this new information should quell public outrage over the already wholly unjustified shooting remains to be explained.
Charles Kinsey, a behavioral therapist, was seen in cellphone video lying on his back with his hands stretched above his head in the air as he attempted the dual task of calming both the distressed autistic patient, who had run away from a group home, and several police officers who had their rifles trained on the impromptu counseling session.
According to the New York Daily News, the officer who fired the shot intended to hit the autistic man who was holding a toy truck because he feared the therapist’s life was threatened.
Such a haphazardly-compiled excuse comes complete with several glaring discrepancies — not the least of which was Kinsey’s on-scene precise description of the man seated next to him as a patient, and that he was holding a toy truck — not a weapon, as the police apparently now would like the public to believe.
The incident started after an emergency call to 911 described a distraught suicidal individual with a gun — but, as audio and video footage indisputably proves, Kinsey told officers the patient had a toy truck, and begged them not to shoot.
Officers fired three total shots, according to a union official as cited by the Daily News, because they feared the confused patient with the truck somehow posed a safety threat.
“The movement of the white individual looked like he was getting ready to discharge a firearm into Mr. Kinsey,” explained Miami-Dade union boss, John Rivera — the white individual being the patient — as quoted by WSVN.
“And the officer discharged, trying to strike the white male and unfortunately, he missed.”
How this could be unfortunate, considering the autistic man’s obviously fraught state, and the fact he posed literally no threat by wielding a … toy truck … remains to be explained.
Rivera chastised the media for reporting the story (as the video shows in no uncertain terms) with a sensationalist bent.
“Be responsible in your reporting,” he rebuffed, Photography Is Not A Crime reported. “We’re asking the community to please allow facts — not sensationalism, not politics — facts to allow their way to work through the system.”
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Though how subjective that video could be is, perhaps, an open question only in the eyes of the department and the union — considering Kinsey can be overheard saying,
“All he has is a toy truck. A toy truck. I am a behavior therapist at a group home.”
Kinsey even attempted to tell the patient, whose first name is Rinaldo, to lie down, as he feared for the man’s safety with officers aiming rifles from behind their patrol car.
Once the officer or officers fired, hitting Kinsey in the leg, he asked flatly,
“Sir, why did you shoot me?”
To which the apparently equally stunned cop replied,
“I don’t know.”
North Miami Police Chief Gary Eugene called the investigation into the matter a “sensitive issue,” and added following a press conference:
“I realize there are many questions about what happened on Monday night. You have questions, the community has questions, we as a city, we as a member of this police department and I also have questions … I assure you we will get all the answers.”
Though the standoff with police is captured leading up to the point they shot Kinsey, footage cuts off before the shots are fired, and recommences with the wounded therapist on his stomach with his hands in cuffs behind his back.
Kinsey further explained to WSVN from his hospital bed that it took at least 15 to 20 minutes for emergency services to arrive on scene to treat him.
As the Daily News reported, the union official said the officer responsible regretted the error and wishes Kinsey a speedy recovery. That officer has also been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of internal and external investigations.
This shooting marks yet another incident of an officer far too eager to pull the trigger with no fathomable justification for doing so — and the explanation the cop had intended to shoot the patient, an autistic man, certainly won’t help to calm a public already irate over what appears on video to be a blatantly unjustified attack.