NORTH MIAMI, FLA. (WSVN) - The City of North Miami held a town hall meeting, Tuesday, to hear the community’s concerns in light of the recent police-involved shooting of a behavioral therapist.
Community members attended Griffing Community Center and raised their concerns about the shooting.
“You’re hired to protect and serve, and I’m at fear when I see you? It shouldn’t be that way,” said one woman.
“We need more discretion sometimes, like with the shooting with the gentleman. He’s totally compliant,” said one man. “I don’t see why they had to pull a gun.”
The community members are referring to the video showing behavioral therapist Charles Kinsey on his back with his hands in the air, alongside his patient with autism, which has been seen across the country. The video is said to show the moments before Kinsey was shot in the leg.
The video shows Kinsey telling officers that he is a therapist attempting to help the young patient after he wandered away from a group home. “All he has is a toy truck, a toy truck. I am a behavioral therapist at a group home,” Kinsey is heard saying in the video.
North Miami Police were called to the area after reports went out about a suicidal man with a gun. However, there was no gun, only the man with autism holding the toy truck. “And I’m laying down here just like this, and I’m telling him, ‘Sir, there’s no need for firearm.'” Kinsey said in a interview with 7News.
Kinsey was then shot by North Miami officer Jonathan Aledda. The incident caused outrage, so the North Miami Police Department set up a hotline to address community concerns.
Officials released calls of some of those citizens who called in. Some expressed anger when a claim from the president of the Police Benevolent Association stated officers were aiming for the man with autism. Also, a question arose that if Kinsey wasn’t the target, why was he handcuffed?
“Absolutely disgusted with your department,” said one caller, “absolutely disgusted with the defense you have given — that you were intending to shoot the autistic man. Everyone knows that is an absolute load of baloney. You handcuffed the man after shooting him, your explanation doesn’t add up.
“It’s unacceptable to release a statement saying, ‘Oh, we didn’t mean to shoot this guy. We meant to shoot this guy with autism holding a toy.’ It’s unacceptable and disgusting,” another caller said.
The manager of the group home where Kinsey works said the entire situation could have been avoided. “I had offered previous administrations to train the police department, and I was rejected,” Bower said
Aledda is currently on administrative leave, as well as his commanding officer.
The NMPD community comments hotline is 305-547-8644.
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