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North Miami police shoot unarmed caretaker of autistic man

Video provided to the Miami Herald by cellphone user Hilton Napoleon

A North Miami police officer shot and injured a black unarmed behavioral therapist Monday as he was taking care of his autistic patient.

A cellphone video that emerged Wednesday shows the caretaker, Charles Kinsey, moments before the shooting, lying on the ground with his hands up with the patient sitting beside him, playing with a small toy truck. Kinsey repeatedly tells the patient to lie down on his stomach.

“All he has is a toy truck in his hand,” he told police. “A toy truck. I am a behavioral therapist at a group home. … That’s all it is. There’s no need for guns.”

The 23-year-old autistic man “had wandered away from an assisted living facility and was blocking traffic when Kinsey was shot by a North Miami police officer,” according to the Associated Press.

Police shot the man three times — one of the bullets struck his right leg. He was then handcuffed and left bleeding on the hot pavement for about 20 minutes until an ambulance arrived.

North Miami police said the incident began when someone reported to 911 “a man walking around with a gun threatening suicide,” according to local television station WSVN.

Kinsey, 47, wasn’t badly injured and is expected to be home by Thursday, the Miami Herald reported.

The North Miami shooting is the latest incident to spark outrage amid a month of protests over the shooting deaths of black men by law enforcement. On July 3, Alton Sterling was killed by Baton Rouge police while selling music outside of a local convenience store. Police were called to the scene after an anonymous 911 caller reported a man threatening customers with a gun. Sterling was armed (Louisiana is an open carry state) but video surveillance appeared to show officers pinning Sterling to the ground while the weapon was in his pocket when he was shot in the chest.

Philando Castile was shot four times by Minnesota police during a traffic stop. The aftermath was recorded and streamed live on Facebook. His girlfriend, who was a passenger at the time, reported that Castile was licensed to carry and had informed the officer he was reaching for his license and registration when the officer opened fire. Castile later died at an area hospital. Both shootings are under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The killings have sparked weeks of protests in cities nationwide, some of which turned violent. In Dallas five officers were shot and killed by an armed sniper during protests and in Baton Rouge, three officers were killed in a coordinated ambush.

An earlier version of this story reported the shooting occurred in Miami. The shooting actually occurred in North Miami, an independent suburb in Miami-Dade County.

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