Police Abuse

North Miami PBA on Shooting of Unarmed Black Man: Meant to Shoot The Autistic Patient With the Toy Truck

Union chief says it's "not what the rest of country" was going through.



The Police Benevolent Association in North Miami came out to defend a police officer who shot an unarmed behavior specialist who was lying on his ground with hands up and trying to help the officer with an autistic patient who was holding a toy truck, the Miami Herald reported.

The unidentified officer insists through his union that he was aiming to shoot the patient, not Charles Kinsey, who was trying to help him with the patient after he left facility grounds. Kinsey says when he asked the cop why he shot him, the cop said he didn't know.

"I took this job to save lives and help people," the officer said, according to the union. "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."

During the incident, the patient was holding a toy truck. According to previous reporting, someone apparently called 911 mistaking the toy truck for a gun, and telling a dispatcher the youth was suicidal. Kinsey was attempting to return the patient to the facility he had left, and to help defuse the situation with police.

The PBA chief, John Rivera, suggested the officer may not have had crisis intervention training, a department requirement. "I couldn't allow this to continue for the community's sake," Rivera said at a press conference yesterday. "Folks, this is not what the rest of the nation is going through."

Kinsey was hit in the leg and is expected to recover. The shooting reveals a lot of the issues contributing to excessive police violence. The officer, on paid leave, insists he took the job to save lives—not relevant. He defends his actions, which could have cost a life, and apparently were intended to do so (just not the person he shot), by saying he had to make a "split second" decision, a common refrain in police shootings. He insists he's not a racist—also irrelevant. Meanwhile, the union floats the idea the officer may not have received crisis intervention training, likely to use lack of training as a defense against termination. If the officer wants to save lives and help people, and do the right thing, he would resign. Shooting the autistic patient, who was sitting on the street holding a toy truck next to a behavior specialist attempting to help the officer defuse the situation, would not have been a better result. If the shooting was accidental and this story is cover, he failed to adhere to basic gun safety guidelines. The officer ought to be well-trained enough and have enough respect for the profession he is in to leave it. Warriors, as cops often like to call themselves, did the right thing.

Several of the policy proposals of Black Lives Matter's Campaign Zero initiative would help to lower the chances of such an incident happening. One of them, targeting police union contracts, has been the subject of protests this week in Oakland, New York, and D.C.