An unarmed black man shot by Miami, Florida, police is the latest in what seems like an endless litany of police shootings of individuals who should not have been shot. Philando Castile in Minnesota, Alton Sterling in Louisiana, and Vernell Bing in Jacksonville, are dead. Charles Kinsey in Miami is lucky to be alive.
“North Miami Police Chief Gary Eugene declared a commitment to transparency in this process. Transparency in this case must mean providing the public with any information about what led to the pointless shooting of an unarmed black man lying on his back with his hands up, and why the public is only hearing about it days after it happened,” Attorney Jeff Hearne, president of the Greater Miami Chapter of the ACLU of Florida stated.
“We are extremely disturbed by the police shooting of Charles Kinsey, an unarmed caretaker helping a patient with autism outside a group home facility in North Miami. Thankfully, Mr. Kinsey is alive and not more gravely injured—but had the officer’s weapon been pointed just a few degrees differently, this senseless incident could have been a much greater tragedy,” noted Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida.
Of the 598 people killed by U.S. police this year, 88 were unarmed. Kinsey or his patient could very easily have become number 89.
“We have to stem the tide of violence, both nationwide and here in Florida. It starts with holding people accountable for their actions. There must be a thorough and independent investigation into this shooting that covers both whether officers violated internal use of deadly force policies and whether criminal charges should be brought,” added Simon in a released statement.
He went on to say that, “the North Miami Police, and all local law enforcement agencies, must examine their policies when it comes to use of force and how best to respond to members of the public who have mental health issues. Great strides have been made in recent years in developing policies that help police de-escalate potentially volatile situations and bring them to an end without violence. None of them seem to have been utilized in this situation by the North Miami Police.”
Without changes in policy and improved training of officers, he further stressed that we will very likely see more needless shootings and deaths at the hands of police.
“We are calling on the North Miami Police to release any police camera footage related to the incident,” added Hearne. Additionally, the ACLU of Florida will be submitting a public records request to review the North Miami Police’s policy on use of force, and use of deadly force, in determining whether it adequately protects both law enforcement and the public.