NORTH MIAMI, Florida– The police officer who shot an unarmed black man earlier this week did so accidentally, according to the police union representing the officer.
During a press conference Thursday, John Rivera, president of the Dade County Police Benevolent Association, said that a North Miami police officer felt Charles Kinsey’s life was in danger when he decided to fire, reports CNN.
Cell phone video shows Kinsey, a behavioral therapist, trying to comfort an autistic patient who wandered away from his group home on Monday. Kinsey can be seen lying on the ground with his arms in the air, trying to explain the situation to law enforcement, as reported recently by the Defender.
Rivera said officers could not hear Kinsey’s pleas and believed that the autistic man was holding a gun and was about to fire, says the website, adding that the officer was trying to shoot the autistic man instead, but he missed, according to Rivera.
“This wasn’t a mistake in the sense that the officer shot the wrong guy or he thought that Kinsey was the bad guy,” Rivera said at the press conference.
“The movement of the white individual made it look like he was going to discharge a firearm into Mr. Kinsey and the officer discharged trying to strike and stop the white man and unfortunately, he missed the white male and shot Mr. Kinsey by accident.”
Rivera added, “Mr. Kinsey did everything right, let’s be real clear about that,” Rivera said. He said that the police officer involved in the shooting “wishes nothing but the best for Mr. Kinsey and the officer is praying for his speedy recovery as are we.”
Kinsey is hospitalized with a gunshot wound to his right leg after three shots were fired, according to his attorney.