Unarmed Man Shot By Police While Lying Down With Hands Up In The Air

The unarmed beheavioral therapist claims the officer said "I don't know," when asked why he was shot.

By Benjamin H. Smith

Another week, another video of a black man getting shot by police. It’s hard not to feel that way given the rash of videos that have come out recently of African-American men on the receiving end of fatal gunshot wounds when confronted by law enforcement. Of course the particulars of each case and video are different, and it’s easy to second guess an officers moves when you’re not in the line of duty, however, the preponderance of such videos raises important issues about police procedures that must be addressed. While the latest such video thankfully doesn’t end in death, it is all the more infuriating as it unmistakably shows an unarmed black man lying flat on his back, hands in the air, in clear submission and following officer’s orders, yet still he ends up with a bullet in his leg. 

It all happened Monday in North Miami, Florida. Behavioral therapist Charles Kinsey was trying to calm a distraught 23-year-old autistic man who had run away from the group home where Kinsey works. Officers responded to a report of a man with a gun. At that point Kinsey was most concerned about the safety of his patient, who was sitting cross-legged and playing with a toy truck. As clearly seen in the cell phone video his lawyer released, police took cover behind their car and drew weapons while the therapist can be heard attempting to explain the situation while on his back with his hands raised in the air. “I was thinking as long as I have my hands up … they’re not going to shoot me,” he told Miami news station WSVN, “This is what I’m thinking, they’re not going to shoot me. Wow, was I wrong.”

After being shot in the leg by a yet unnamed officer, Charles Kinsey was handcuffed and laid face down on his stomach, bleeding out while waiting for an ambulance. Kinsey claims he asked why he had been shot and the police officer responded, “I don’t know.” Kinsey is now recuperating from his wounds and happy to be alive, however, he still wants answers as to why he was shot. The North Miami police officer that shot him has been placed on administrative leave and the Florida State Attorney is now involved with the investigation.

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