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.
62 Black Men And Boys Killed By Police
1. Eric Logan, 541 of 62
2. Jamarion Robinson, 262 of 62
3. Gregory Hill Jr., 303 of 62
4. JaQuavion Slaton, 204 of 62
5. Ryan Twyman, 245 of 62
6. Brandon Webber, 206 of 62
7. Jimmy Atchison, 217 of 62
8. Willie McCoy, 208 of 62
9. Emantic "EJ" Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., 219 of 62
10. D’ettrick Griffin, 1810 of 62
11. Jemel Roberson, 26Source:false 11 of 62
12. DeAndre Ballard, 23Source:false 12 of 62
13. Botham Shem Jean, 26Source:false 13 of 62
14. Robert Lawrence White, 41Source:false 14 of 62
15. Anthony Lamar Smith, 24Source:Getty 15 of 62
16. Ramarley Graham, 18Source:Getty 16 of 62
17. Manuel Loggins Jr., 31Source:Getty 17 of 62
18. Trayvon Martin, 17Source:Getty 18 of 62
19. Wendell Allen, 20Source:Getty 19 of 62
20. Kendrec McDade, 19Source:Getty 20 of 62
21. Larry Jackson Jr., 32Source:Getty 21 of 62
22. Jonathan Ferrell, 24Source:Getty 22 of 62
23. Jordan Baker, 26Source:Getty 23 of 62
24. Victor White lll, 22Source:Getty 24 of 62
25. Dontre Hamilton, 31Source:Getty 25 of 62
26. Eric Garner, 43Source:Getty 26 of 62
27. John Crawford lll, 22Source:Getty 27 of 62
28. Michael Brown, 18Source:Getty 28 of 62
29. Ezell Ford, 25Source:Getty 29 of 62
30. Dante Parker, 36Source:Getty 30 of 62
31. Kajieme Powell, 25Source:Getty 31 of 62
32. Laquan McDonald, 17Source:Getty 32 of 62
33. Akai Gurley, 28Source:Getty 33 of 62
34. Tamir Rice, 12Source:Getty 34 of 62
35. Rumain Brisbon, 34Source:Getty 35 of 62
36. Jerame Reid, 36Source:Getty 36 of 62
37. Charly Keunang, 43Source:Getty 37 of 62
38. Tony Robinson, 19Source:Getty 38 of 62
39. Walter Scott, 50Source:Getty 39 of 62
40. Freddie Gray, 25Source:Getty 40 of 62
41. Brendon Glenn, 29Source:Getty 41 of 62
42. Samuel DuBose, 43Source:Getty 42 of 62
43. Christian Taylor, 19Source:Getty 43 of 62
44. Jamar Clark, 24Source:Getty 44 of 62
45. Mario Woods, 26Source:Getty 45 of 62
46. Quintonio LeGrier, 19Source:Getty 46 of 62
47. Gregory Gunn, 58Source:Getty 47 of 62
48. Akiel Denkins, 24Source:Getty 48 of 62
49. Alton Sterling, 37Source:Getty 49 of 62
50. Philando Castile, 32Source:Getty 50 of 62
51. Terrence Sterling, 31Source:Getty 51 of 62
52. Terence Crutcher, 40Source:Getty 52 of 62
53. Keith Lamont Scott, 43Source:Getty 53 of 62
54. Alfred Olango, 38Source:Getty 54 of 62
55. Jordan Edwards, 15Source:Getty 55 of 62
56. Stephon Clark, 22Source:false 56 of 62
57. Danny Ray Thomas, 34Source:false 57 of 62
58. DeJuan Guillory, 27Source:false 58 of 62
59. Patrick Harmon, 5059 of 62
60. Jonathan Hart, 2160 of 62
61. Maurice Granton, 2461 of 62
STILL TERRIBLE: Cop Says He Was Firing At Autistic Man, Not Mental Health Counselor was originally published on newsone.com