Florida Therapist Sits On Ground With Hands Up While Trying To Calm Unarmed Autistic Man . . . Police Shoot Therapist

shootingclipThere is a very disturbing videotape out today that left me stunned and frankly irate. While I have sometimes questioned the evidence of police abuse in some high-profile cases where there is a gun present or extenuating circumstances, I can see no such circumstances in the shooting of Charles Kinsey in North Miami. Kinsey is a dedicated caretaker at an assisted living facility who went outside to calm down a young autistic man. Neither was armed and, at the time of the shooting, Kinsey had his hands up as he tried to get the troubled young man to lay on his stomach. Police fired three rounds, hitting Kinsey.

Kinsey said that the autistic man simply had a toy truck in his hand that was mistaken as a gun. Someone called police to say that the man was threatening suicide. The man sat on the street playing with the white toy truck.

Kinsey is heard telling the young man “Lay down on your stomach,” but the autistic man responds “Shut up. Shut up, you idiot.” Kinsey remains professional and calm. He asks the police “Can I get up now? Can I get up?” He also tries to defuse the situation and tells the police that there is no threat: “All he has is a toy truck in his hand. A toy truck. I am a behavioral therapist at a group home. . . . That’s all it is [referring to the toy truck] That’s all it is. There is no need for guns.”

Police respond by shouting “Let me see your hands” and shouting at the autistic man to “Get on the ground. Get on the ground.”

As the autistic man makes noise, Kinsey says “Rinaldo, please be still. Sit down, Rinaldo. Lay on your stomach.”

Soon after the police fire three bullets and hit Kinsey near his right knee, exiting his upper thigh.

Police then put the injured Kinsey into handcuffs as well as the autistic man with the toy truck.

In this videotape, you hear a bystander in disbelief of why they shot the health care worker:

The responsible officer is on administrative leave pending an investigation. At a minimum, it would be helpful for the police to reveal the alleged justification for the shooting of Kinsey because none of this make any sense. Under Tennessee v. Garner, “deadly force…may not be used unless necessary to prevent the escape and the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious bodily harm to the officer or others.” Thus, the Supreme Court rejected the prior fleeing felon rule when the felon did not pose an immediate threat to society. Under Graham v. Connor, this is determined according to an “objective reasonableness” standard but a calculus that considers the split second decision-making in such circumstances. I see no such grounds in this videotape.

What do you think?

89 thoughts on “Florida Therapist Sits On Ground With Hands Up While Trying To Calm Unarmed Autistic Man . . . Police Shoot Therapist”

  1. Paul

    Let it go. Sometimes the essence is all that is necessary. Nobody likes an anal retentive fact checker who catches every little mistake, most often the ones that have absolutely nothing to do with the exchange of ideas. Sometimes a nod of understanding is the best response.

    As a student of history, as well, I gave up on including accuracy long ago. The idea is all that is important in this level of exchange. Out there in the functioning working world where an I not dotted or a T not crossed could be twisted into meaning something, that’s a different place.

    I am often reminded of judge Sirica who presided over the Watergate trials. When one of Nixon’s, Dean’s, etc flashy BS layers was laboring along with $50.00 words rarely used in court rooms let alone in life, Sirica interrupted the BS and stated, “Son, I’m just a simple country lawyer, so try and avoid using all these words that no one understands and that are more easily replaced….” or something like that.

    1. issac – you never get over being a fact checker. It is like being a Marine, you are never a former Marine, you are always a Marine. Went to see My Big Fat Greek Wedding II and went berserk at the part were the father is trying to prove he is related to Alexander the Great. 1) Alexander was as gay as you come and although he married for political reasons, there are no records of any children. His empire was split between his three main generals. 2 ) Alexander was not Greek, he was Macedonian. He was the son of Phillip II of Macedonia. 3) There is no genetic material to check if he was related to Alexander the Great. His tomb has never been found, although his father’s was found a few years ago. 4) The daughter solved the issue by forging a letter saying he was related to Alexander. This was accepted by everyone at the wedding. 5) Anyway, this ruined the whole end of the movie for me.

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