NORTH MIAMI, FL (WFLA) — The Police Chief of North Miami still can’t say why one of his officers shot an unarmed man who was lying on the ground with his hands up. The case has now been turned over to state authorities and U.S. Attorney General’s Office.
A witness’ cellphone video clearly shows the man, lying on his back with his arms in the air, telling police he’s unarmed and so is the autistic man sitting next to him.
“All he has is a toy truck. A toy truck. I am a behavior therapist at the group home,” the man is heard saying in the cell phone video.
But a North Miami police officer shot him anyway.
“My client asked ‘why did you shoot me?’ The officer told my client, ‘I don’t know,’” said Hilton Napoleon, the victim’s lawyer.
The victim is Charles Kinsey, a behavior therapist at a nearby group home, who was with an autistic client who wandered away from the home.
The group home manager, Clint Bower, says police were told something else. “The individual who lives here was walking down the street with a toy in his hand and somebody called police, saying somebody had a weapon, that’s all we know,”
The Police Benevolent Association defended the officer who shot Kinsey, saying it was an accident, and that the officer was actually aiming at the autistic man sitting beside Kinsey because the officer thought he had a gun.
“And unfortunately, he missed the white male and shot Mr. Kinsey by accident,” said John Rivera, President of the Dade County Police Benevolent Association.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch is looking into the incident. “We want to gather as much information as we can so we can make an informed decision,” she said.
The officer involved has been suspended. Kinsey remains in the hospital.