Update: 4:00 p.m. EDT — The local police union said that the North Miami police officer involved in the shooting of Charles Kinsey was actually aiming at Kinsey's autistic patient, thinking the behavioral therapist was in danger, according to multiple reports. The officer is reportedly sorry and wishes Kinsey, who was shot in the leg, a speedy recovery.
Cellphone video of the incident prior to the actual act of shooting shows Kinsey — who is black — lying on the ground with his hands up, yelling out to officers to explaining that he works at a group home nearby and that the man next to him was his patient. Police said they had received reports of a man with a gun, though none was recovered at the scene.
Kinsey, 47, can be seen in the video lying on his back, yelling to officers that the patient sitting up next to him was just holding a toy truck.
Caretaker Charles Kinsey said he was lying down with his hands up — attempting to calm down his autistic patient — when a member of the North Miami police shot him Tuesday.
"I’m like this right here," the behavior therapist at a group home in Miami told local television station WSVN, indicating his hands were up. "And when he shot me, it was so surprising. 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 were, ‘I don’t know.’"
Cellphone video that captured part of the incident shows Kinsey — who is black — with his hands up, lying down next to his patient. Police said they had received reports of a man walking around with a gun, threatening suicide.
State Attorney Kathy Rundle released a statement Thursday saying in part that the "Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the circumstances" of the shooting "to determine whether the actions of the shooting officer constitute a criminal act."
"We have witness statements that there was a gun," North Miami Police Chief Gary C. Eugene said in a press conference Thursday, via WSVN. "We had a 911 call with that same information. However, I want to make it clear there was no gun recovered."
The cellphone video appears to show Kinsey attempting to explain the situation to police. He is a therapist, he tells them with hands up, and with him is his autistic patient. The patient is holding a toy truck, he yells out. Kinsey asks the patient, who is sitting down on the concrete rocking back and forth, to lie down on his stomach. The video then cuts to the aftermath of the shooting. Kinsey was shot in the leg and no video of the actual shooting act was apparently immediately available.
"And I am laying there just like this, telling them again there is no need for firearms. He is autistic. He has a toy truck in his hand," Kinsey told WVSN.
The North Miami Police Department said in a statement that the officers "attempted to negotiate with two men on the scene" and at some point "one of the responding officers discharged his weapon." The county prosecutor's office said in a statement that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement was investigating the incident, after which the prosecutor's office would conduct its own investigation to determine "whether the actions of the shooting officer constitute a criminal act that can be proven beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt."