North Miami Police Chief Gary Eugene declined to take any questions during a brief press conference held earlier today over the Monday shooting of Charles Kinsey. The investigation has been turned over to the state.
Cell phone footage obtained by WSNV 7 News yesterday showed Kinsey, who is a mental healthcare worker, lying on his back on the ground with his hands up, pleading with the police. Kinsey was helping his patient, a 23-year-old man with autism, when the cops were responding to reports of a suicidal man with a gun in the area.
“All he has is a toy truck. I am a behavior therapist at a group home,” Kinsey is heard telling the police who were armed with rifles and taking cover behind a patrol car. Kinsey can also be heard trying to calm his patient, who had run away from the group home and was sitting on the ground, rocking back and forth: “Please be still... Sit down... Lay on your stomach.” A yet unidentified police officer shot Kinsey in the leg. Kinsey was left bleeding on the ground, then handcuffed and later sent to the hospital. Kinsey told that WSVN that when he asked the officer why he had shot him, the officer replied, “I don’t know.”
The North Miami Police Chief had no answers for the press either.
The Miami Herald reports that Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said that her department will be conducting an investigation after the state investigation turns over their findings.* According to her statement, the prosecutor’s office will be determining “whether the actions of the shooting officer constitute a criminal act that can be proven beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt.”
“The video is like a nightmare. I can’t believe it,” Wilson said. “What else could we have told him? What could have saved him from being shot? From what I saw, he was lying on the ground, with his hands up, freezing, being rational, and he was still shot. Something is not right with that picture.”
*Update: This post originally stated that State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle attended the conference. The state attorney’s office alerted us to the error, and clarified that The Miami Herald’s reports of a “parallel investigation” aren’t accurate. No special separate parallel investigation is being conducted at this time, and, as the State Attorney’s Office explains, it is “the process by which police shootings are handled. Once FDLE concludes their investigation, they send us their findings and conclusions and then we begin our investigation.”