Caregiver says he was shot when police mistook toy for gun
North Miami Police Chief Gary Eugene, center, speaks at a July 21 press conference. U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, right, spoke as well. (Still from video on North Miami Police Department Facebook page)
A Florida behavioral therapist who was outdoors helping a resident of the facility where he works says he was shot by a police officer who thought the toy truck in the resident's hands was a gun, according to an article on local10.com and several other media outlets.
A fact sheet on the North Miami Police Department Facebook page indicates that police officers were dispatched to an intersection on Monday after a 911 caller reported that a man was threatening suicide and pointing a gun to his head. When they arrived, they found two men in the street, one of whom they later learned was a caregiver at nearby Mactown. Some media outlets have referred to Mactown as an assisted living facility, although the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration identifies it as an intermediate care facility for the developmentally disabled. The caregiver, whom police identified as Charles Kinsey, later told the media that the other man in the intersection was an autistic resident of the group home.
Cellphone video posted online shows Kinsey, before the shooting, lying on his back with his hands in the air, explaining to officers that he was a behavioral therapist and that the resident was holding a toy truck. Kinsey also can be heard asking the resident to stay calm.
The video does not show Kinsey being shot, but the man who filmed the incident told local10.com that the officer fired when Kinsey said he was going to stand up. Kinsey's attorney told the TV station that his client was shot in the leg and will recover.
Kinsey has been identified as black. The police department identified the resident and the police officer as Hispanic men.
The shootings come in the wake of tension between citizens and the police, especially following the officer-involved shooting deaths of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota earlier this month. Eight law enforcement officers have been killed in Louisiana and Texas since then, reportedly targeted because of the other incidents.
At a press conference on Thursday, North Miami Police Chief Gary Eugene said that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the North Miami shooting.