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Unarmed therapist shot by police while trying to calm man with autism, lawyer says

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MIAMI — Charles Kinsey said he was lying in the middle of the street with his arms raised high when police shot him in the leg.

Kinsey, who works for an assisted living facility in North Miami, had gone outside Monday to assist one of his patients who had just had a behavioral incident when police showed up, his lawyer said.

They were called to the scene after they received reports of an armed man threatening suicide, authorities said.

Kinsey said that when police arrived, he tried to explain that he was a behavioral therapist at the nearby facility and that his patient has autism and that he was holding a toy truck, not a firearm.

Charles Kinsey was shot by police while lying down, his lawyer says. Kinsey was helping one of his patients with autism when police arrived. Kinsey, who works for an assisted living facility in North Miami, had gone outside Monday to assist one of his patients who had just had a behavioral incident when police showed up, his lawyer said. (CNN)

Charles Kinsey was shot by police while lying down, his lawyer says. Kinsey was helping one of his patients with autism when police arrived. Kinsey, who works for an assisted living facility in North Miami, had gone outside Monday to assist one of his patients who had just had a behavioral incident when police showed up, his lawyer said. (CNN)

He then asked his patient, a 23-year-old, to be still and lie down.

“I was more worried about him than myself,” Kinsey told CNN affiliate WSVN.

Cell phone video from the scene and released by his lawyer shows Kinsey lying on the ground with his arms raised and another man sitting cross-legged next to him.

“As long as I’ve got my hands up, they’re not gonna shoot me, that’s what I’m thinking,” Kinsey said.

“Wow, was I wrong.”

A second video provided by Napoleon shows Kinsey lying in the road, on his stomach and handcuffed. It’s not clear if there is video of the actual shooting and what happened between the two videos provided by the lawyer.

‘Why did you shoot me?’

North Miami Police said in a news release that they are investigating the shooting and have asked potential witnesses to come forward with any photos or video they may have from the incident.

The officers who arrived “attempted to negotiate with the two men on the scene.”

At some point, one of the officers discharged his weapon, authorities said. That officer has been placed on administrative leave, as is the standard procedure.

Kinsey said he was surprised, like when a mosquito bites unexpectedly.

“When he hit me, I’m like, I still got my hands in the air,” he said.

“I’m like, ‘Sir, why did you shoot me?'” Kinsey said he asked the officer.

“He said to me, ‘I don’t know.'”

The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office is assisting with the investigation, police said.

‘He did everything he was supposed to do’

Kinsey was shot in his right leg after officers fired two or three shots, according to his lawyer, Hilton Napoleon II.

After the shooting, Kinsey told WSVN he was flipped over and handcuffed.

According to Napoleon, Kinsey laid on the ground for 20 minutes before an ambulance arrived on the scene.

A hospital spokeswoman said Kinsey is in good condition.

“Physically he will recover but mentally he felt like he did everything he could possibly do and that wasn’t good enough,” Napoleon said.

“You can’t shoot unarmed people period.”

Kinsey’s shooting comes after a pair of officer-involved shootings led to the death of two men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, kicking off a period of national unrest and putting the spotlight again on police use of force, particularly against black men.

Eight law enforcement officers have since been killed in separate incidents Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, targeted by gunmen who claimed they were reacting in part to incidents like those that led to the deaths of Sterling and Castile