Hilton Napoleon(MIAMI, Fla.) — An unarmed black man was shot and injured by police in Florida while he had his hands in the air — a shooting that had “no justification,” the injured man’s attorney said Thursday.
The attorney released video of the Monday incident showing Charles Kinsey, 47, a behavioral therapist at an assisted living facility, on his back, lying on the ground with his hands in the air. The man at his feet in the video is a man with autism who ran away from the home, Kinsey’s attorney said.
In the video, Kinsey tells police “all he has is a toy truck in his hand.”
“I am a behavior therapist,” Kinsey says in the video. Kinsey also tells the man with autism, “Please be still.”
Hilton Napoleon, Kinsey’s attorney, said Thursday morning, “The video clearly shows him laying on his back. The video clearly shows him with his hands as high in the air as he can possibly get them.”
“And he also explains to the police that the instrument in the autistic guy’s hand is a toy truck,” Napoleon said. “When you look at the video, there is no argument that can be made that that is a gun. The appearance of it is rectangular, it’s white, it’s not shiny, it’s not painted, and it’s not even shaped like a gun.”
North Miami Police said they had received a 911 call of a man with a gun threatening to commit suicide.
“At some point during the on-scene negotiation” with the two men, one of the officers fired, striking Kinsey, police said. Video of the shooting was not released by the attorney. He was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.
No gun was recovered, police said Thursday.
Napoleon said Thursday Kinsey is physically “doing OK.”
“I think one of the biggest hurdles that’s going to be tough for him in the long run is the mental aspect of it because he feels he really did everything he could do to cooperate and go over and beyond to show police that he’s not armed and that he’s trying to help de-escalate a situation with a mental health individual,” Napoleon said. “It’s going to be a long haul to make sure that he gets over that fear.”
“There is no justification for shooting an unarmed person who is talking to you and telling you that they don’t have a gun and that they’re a mental health counselor,” Napoleon said. “I just don’t understand it.”
The North Miami Police Department said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has taken over the investigation. The state attorney’s office is also looking into the case, police said.
The officer involved was placed on administrative leave, police said.
When ABC News asked U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch about the shooting Thursday morning, she said, “I am aware of it, and we’re trying to gather all the facts about it so we can determine essentially how that matter will be handled or reviewed.”
“We obviously want to gather as much information as we can so that we can make informed decisions,” Lynch said.
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