Click photo to run the cellphone video
A black therapist in the US state of Florida trying to calm a man with autism in the middle of the street says he was shot by police, even though he had his hands in the air and repeatedly told them that both were unarmed.
The moments before the shooting on Monday were recorded on cellphone video, showing Charles Kinsey lying on the ground with his arms raised, talking to his patient and police throughout the standoff with officers, who appeared to have them surrounded.
“As long as I’ve got my hands up, they’re not going to shoot me. This is what I’m thinking. They’re not going to shoot me,” he told WSVN-TV later from his hospital bed, where he was recovering from a gunshot wound to his leg.
“Wow, was I wrong.”
The shooting comes at a time of growing tensions and increased protests against the disproportionate number of African Americans killed by the police.
North Miami Police Chief Gary Eugene said on Thursday he had asked Florida state officials to lead the investigation into the shooting.
Eugene said officers responded to a 911 emergency call about an armed man threatening suicide, but the chief told reporters no gun was recovered at the scene.
Kinsey said he was trying to calm his 23-year-old patient who had run away from the group home where he works.
“All he has is a toy truck in his hand,” Kinsey can be heard saying in the video, speaking of his patient, who was holding a toy. “That’s all it is. There is no need for guns.”
Al Jazeera’s Andy Gallacher, reporting from North Miami, said: “The video at that point goes black, but we are told that a police officer fired three rounds towards Kinsey, one of them striking him in his leg.”
Racism in America may have diminished very slightly over the decades since I was young. Excuses haven’t changed. Copouts – literally copouts – from police departments haven’t changed. It’s still OK for a cop to shoot an unarmed Black man in America. The odds continue to be overwhelming that he will get away with it.
So-called journalists, TV talking heads, politicians of every stripe will jostle each other in line to be certain the copper who did the shooting is treated “fairly”. And screw the victim. It will take that minority of Americans who resent our nation’s failure to provide an equal opportunity at staying alive – to gather a movement more concerned with justice than intellectual and ethical cowardice – to protest against our murderous bigotry.