Thursday, July 21, 2016

North Miami Cop Shoots An Unarmed Black Therapist

Turkish police arresting civilians
A few minutes ago I was listening to an NPR News report on The Takeaway about the climate of fear now permeating the city of Istanbul, Turkey in the wake of the failed coup attempt just days ago.

According to various media reports authorities have arrested tens of thousands of people suspected of taking part in the coup from all walks of life, soldiers, policemen, judges, teachers, government employees and civilians; many of whom had no part in the coup.

The NPR reporter interviewed a Turkish man who expressed apprehension about being shot by policemen in the street merely because they might suspect him of something he didn't do.

As an African-American man I have sympathy for that Turkish man who I'll probably never meet, as I know what it's like to live in apprehension when you see a police vehicle approaching even though you've done nothing wrong.

For far too many law enforcement professionals in this country, right or wrong seems to matter less than skin color, and like millions of other men and boys who look like me, I've had to come to terms with the understanding that American police officers will actually shoot people who share my physical characteristics with a loaded handgun for pretty much anything.

Innocent unarmed men and boys of color in America have been shot by cops for sitting, standing, driving, walking, running, talking, biking, shopping and listening to music.

Charles Kinsey recounts incident from the hospital
In the latest example of panicked, knee-jerk reactions by police, an African-American behavioral therapist was shot in the leg while laying on the ground with his hands up.  

As The Miami Herald reported, Charles Kinsey went outside the MacTown Panther Group Home where he works to retrieve a 23-year-old autistic man who left the facility unattended and sat down in the street to play with a small toy truck.

Kinsey was seated on the ground trying to talk to the man when an as yet-unnamed North Miami police officers pulled up and allegedly ordered the men to put their hands up.

In what's become an all-too familiar scenario in America, Kinsey fully complied with the officer's instructions and was lying on the ground with his hands up in the in air when the officer shot him in the leg with an assault rifle.  

Before being shot, Kinsey told the officer "Sir, there's no need for firearms." but the officer shot him anyway.

After the cops approached Kinsey, flipped him over and handcuffed him, he asked the cop why he shot him and the cop's response? "I don't know."

North Miami Asst. Chief Neal Cuevas
According to the Herald, North Miami PD Assistant Chief Neal Cuevas claims the officers had been responding to a 911 call about a man with a gun about to kill himself.

But even if that's true (and we don't know at this point because the police have released no reports on the incident to the public) is it normal for a police officer to point a loaded assault weapon at a mentally disturbed person allegedly trying to take his own life?

According to a CNN report of the incident, Kinsey shouted to the cop, "All he has is a toy truck. I am a behavioral therapist at a group home!"

Despite explaining exactly what was going on, the cop shot him. Did this officer see Kinsey laying on the ground with his hands up and "fear for his safety"? In broad daylight?

It's just fortunate that neither Kinsey or the autistic man he was trying to help weren't killed.

What's interesting is that opportunistic reactionary conservatives like Chris Christie or Donald Trump have been quick to publicly condemn members of Black Lives Matter, or other peaceful protesters for peacefully speaking out against this kind of excessive use of police force.

So where's that outraged public condemnation now that an innocent unarmed black behavioral therapist has been shot with an assault rifle while he was laying on the ground with his hands in the air complying with police instructions?

As that trigger happy cop said,  "I don't know." 

No comments: