Therapist shot by police while caring for autistic patient speaks to 7News

MIAMI (WSVN) - A caregiver who was shot while trying to calm down a patient with autism in North Miami is speaking exclusively to 7News from his hospital bed.

On cellphone video released Wednesday, behavior therapist Charles Kinsey could be heard yelling to North Miami police that he was taking care of his patient who got away from the group home where he lives and that the patient was holding a toy truck, not a gun. Kinsey was shot by North Miami Police, anyway.

The manager at the group home told 7News that the autistic man he was caring for is now also in the hospital, Thursday.

“He’s traumatized. I mean, unfortunately, he is now hospitalized because of this,” said group home manager Clint Dower, who added that the man with autism was handcuffed and remained in a police car for over three hours.

Cellphone video captured the scene as Kinsey laid on his back in the middle of the road with both of his hands in the air as North Miami Police aimed their rifles at him. “All he has is a toy truck. A toy truck. I am a behavior therapist at a group home,” Kinsey yelled to police on cellphone video.

Kinsey said he complied with the officers’ demands. “When I went to the ground, I went to the ground just like this with my hands up,” Kinsey said. “And I’m laying down here just like this, and I’m telling him, ‘Sir, there’s no need for firearm. I’m unarmed, he’s an autistic guy. He got a toy truck in his hand.'”

Police were called to the area by a neighbor who claimed that there was someone with a gun. According to Kinsey, there was no gun, just the toy truck his patient was holding, which was clearly visible to officers. “Rinaldo, please be sill, Rinaldo. Sit down, Rinaldo. Lay on your stomach,” Kinsey could be heard on video.

“I was really worried, more worried about him than myself. I’m looking at, as long as I got my hands up, they’re not gonna shoot me,” Kinsey told 7News. “This is what I’m thinking. They’re not gonna shoot me. Wow, was I wrong.”

Kinsey was then shot in the leg. Although the shooting was not caught on camera, Kinsey said he had his hands up the entire time. “I’m like this right here,” Kinsey said as he held his hands up. “And when he shot me. It was so surprising. It was like a mosquito bite.”

He said the officers then rushed toward him and patted him down. They found that there was no gun on him and then handcuffed him. “They flipped me over and I’m face down in the ground with cuffs on, waiting on a rescue squad to come. I’d say about 20 minutes it took the rescue squad to get there, and I was bleeding, yes, bleeding. Like, wow.”

7News was on the scene as Kinsey was taken to the hospital.

Now, Kinsey wants a full investigation and wants to know why the officer fired his weapon. “My life flashed right in front of me,” Kinsey said. “When he hit me, my first thing that I’m thinking, I’m thinking about my family.”

Kinsey was set to be released Thursday, but since his story has gone national, Jackson Memorial Hospital is no longer releasing information on his condition.

He visited a psychiatrist and was later released from the hospital Thursday night.

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