After days of silence, an answer emerges on behalf of the North Miami Police Department in response to why one of their officers shot a mental health worker as he lay flat with his arms outstretched.
John Rivera, head of the Miami-Dade’s Police Benevolent Association, said the officer was actually aiming for the autistic man sitting next to Charles Kinsey, an astonishing admission, The Miami Herald reports.
“I couldn’t allow this to continue for the community’s sake,” Rivera said Thursday during a press conference. “Folks, this is not what the rest of the nation is going through.”
The department remains tight-lipped on the officer’s name. North Miami Police Chief Gary Eugene released descriptive details: he’s a 30-year-old Hispanic male who’s been on the force for four years. The officer is also a part of the city’s SWAT team, according to The Miami Herald.
Though not present in body, Rivera read the officer’s prepared statement outlining his discontent with the public’s perceptions of him.
“I took this job to save lives and help people. I did what I had to do in a split second to accomplish that and hate to hear others paint me as something that I’m not,” the cop said.
The shooting occurred on Monday after officers were told a suicidal armed man was in the area.
When they arrived, they found Kinsey and the 23-year-old autistic man in the street. Kinsey, a caretaker at MacTown Panther Group Home, was called by his job to retrieve the young man, who wandered away to play with his toy truck. Cell phone footage shows Kinsey lying on the ground with his hands raised. In an interview with WSVN from his hospital bed, Kinsey said he repeatedly told police that he was unarmed and not to shoot.
Police said they fired from a distance, and could not hear Kinsey or tell that the young man was autistic. Officers said they responded with gunfire after the patient was unresponsive to their calls to get down, and loaded what they thought was a gun. They fired three shots, one of them hitting Kinsey in the leg. The gun turned out to be a toy car.
The footage of Kinsey lying suspended caught national attention, tightening the strain between law enforcement and minority communities.
On Thursday evening, around 40 Black Lives Matter protesters gathered at the North Miami police headquarters, demanding the officer’s termination.
Kinsey’s shooting opens up a larger discussion surrounding de-escalation and mental health training for law enforcement. During Thursday’s press conference, Rivera said it was unclear if the officer attended crisis intervention training. According to The Herald, officers in the North Miami Police Department are not required to partake.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle told The Herald her office would wait to determine the need to press criminal charges until an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement was completed.
The ACLU and civil liberties advocates are appalled at the shooting, calling for further examination of how officers are trained.
“There must be a thorough and independent investigation into this shooting that covers both whether officers violated internal use of deadly force policies and whether criminal charges should be brought,” said Howard Simon, the ACLU’s executive director.
56 Black Men And Boys Killed By Police
1. Jimmy Atchison, 211 of 56
2. Willie McCoy, 202 of 56
3. Emantic "EJ" Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., 213 of 56
4. D’ettrick Griffin, 184 of 56
5. Jemel Roberson, 26Source:false 5 of 56
6. DeAndre Ballard, 23Source:false 6 of 56
7. Botham Shem Jean, 26Source:false 7 of 56
8. Antwon Rose Jr., 17Source:false 8 of 56
9. Robert Lawrence White, 41Source:false 9 of 56
10. Anthony Lamar Smith, 24Source:Getty 10 of 56
11. Ramarley Graham, 18Source:Getty 11 of 56
12. Manuel Loggins Jr., 31Source:Getty 12 of 56
13. Trayvon Martin, 17Source:Getty 13 of 56
14. Wendell Allen, 20Source:Getty 14 of 56
15. Kendrec McDade, 19Source:Getty 15 of 56
16. Larry Jackson Jr., 32Source:Getty 16 of 56
17. Jonathan Ferrell, 24Source:Getty 17 of 56
18. Jordan Baker, 26Source:Getty 18 of 56
19. Victor White lll, 22Source:Getty 19 of 56
20. Dontre Hamilton, 31Source:Getty 20 of 56
21. Eric Garner, 43Source:Getty 21 of 56
22. John Crawford lll, 22Source:Getty 22 of 56
23. Michael Brown, 18Source:Getty 23 of 56
24. Ezell Ford, 25Source:Getty 24 of 56
25. Dante Parker, 36Source:Getty 25 of 56
26. Kajieme Powell, 25Source:Getty 26 of 56
27. Laquan McDonald, 17Source:Getty 27 of 56
28. Akai Gurley, 28Source:Getty 28 of 56
29. Tamir Rice, 12Source:Getty 29 of 56
30. Rumain Brisbon, 34Source:Getty 30 of 56
31. Jerame Reid, 36Source:Getty 31 of 56
32. Charly Keunang, 43Source:Getty 32 of 56
33. Tony Robinson, 19Source:Getty 33 of 56
34. Walter Scott, 50Source:Getty 34 of 56
35. Freddie Gray, 25Source:Getty 35 of 56
36. Brendon Glenn, 29Source:Getty 36 of 56
37. Samuel DuBose, 43Source:Getty 37 of 56
38. Christian Taylor, 19Source:Getty 38 of 56
39. Jamar Clark, 24Source:Getty 39 of 56
40. Mario Woods, 26Source:Getty 40 of 56
41. Quintonio LeGrier, 19Source:Getty 41 of 56
42. Gregory Gunn, 58Source:Getty 42 of 56
43. Akiel Denkins, 24Source:Getty 43 of 56
44. Alton Sterling, 37Source:Getty 44 of 56
45. Philando Castile, 32Source:Getty 45 of 56
46. Terrence Sterling, 31Source:Getty 46 of 56
47. Terence Crutcher, 40Source:Getty 47 of 56
48. Keith Lamont Scott, 43Source:Getty 48 of 56
49. Alfred Olango, 38Source:Getty 49 of 56
50. Jordan Edwards, 15Source:Getty 50 of 56
51. Stephon Clark, 22Source:false 51 of 56
52. Danny Ray Thomas, 34Source:false 52 of 56
53. DeJuan Guillory, 27Source:false 53 of 56
54. Patrick Harmon, 5054 of 56
55. Jonathan Hart, 2155 of 56
56. Maurice Granton, 2456 of 56
STILL TERRIBLE: Cop Says He Was Firing At Autistic Man, Not Mental Health Counselor was originally published on newsone.com