Unarmed man shot by Miami police asks: 'Why?' says officer replied: 'I don't know'

A man who was shot by police in Miami Monday evening says the officer told him he didn't know why he did it.

Officer fired 3 times, striking Charles Kinsey in the leg

Kinsey, seen speaking to reporters in the hospital, said he had his arms up and was on his back on the ground when police shot him. (Media24/YouTube)

A man who was shot by police in Miami Monday evening says the officer told him he didn't know why he did it.

Charles Kinsey, 47, was shot after police got a call about a suicidal person with a gun around 5:30 p.m. ET.

Video of the event, which was provided to the Miami Herald, shows Kinsey on the ground with his hands up, next to a man he identified as a person in his care — Kinsey is a therapist who works with people with disabilities.

In the video, Kinsey can be seen asking police not to shoot him, and trying to get his patient to lie on the ground as police surround them. His patient was sitting up and playing with a toy truck.

He said he told the officers that neither he nor his patient, who he said has autism, were armed.

Police ended up firing three times, striking Kinsey in the leg.

Congresswoman 'in shock'

The shooting has rankled the community. At a press conference Thursday morning, North Miami Police Department Chief Gary Eugene said he would "get all the answers" and that police are "committed to keeping the community safe."

Eugene said that as chief, he's committed to transparency. However, he did not answer any questions and did not name the officer involved in the shooting. He would also not give the officer's race.

U.S. Representative Frederica Wilson, seen in August 2015, told reporters Thursday she's in shock after hearing about the shooting. (Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters)

Congresswoman Frederica Wilson also spoke at the press conference. She said she only heard about the shooting Thursday morning, saying it is "like a nightmare." She said the shooting is not something the community is used to, referring to it as being "like a little United Nations."

"When you shoot a man lying on the ground with his hands up explaining to you the situation and you shoot him anyway? Something is not right with that picture," she said, adding that she's "in shock."

She said she isn't sure that there is any urgency in naming the officer who shot Kinsey. She added that she will follow up with all the agencies involved "to make sure that justice is done for this poor gentleman," referring to Kinsey.

Cellphone video shows Charles Kinsey lying on his back with his hands in the air moments before being shot by police 0:36

Kinsey said he didn't expect to get shot.

As long as I've got my hands up, they're not going to shoot me ... Wow, was I wrong.- Charles Kinsey , shooting victim

"When he shot me, it was so surprising, it was like a mosquito bite," recalled Kinsey in an interview from his hospital bed.

He said he asked the police officer, "Why did you shoot me?"

"And his words to me, he said, 'I don't know.'"

Kinsey said he was more worried about his patient than himself during the incident.

"As long as I've got my hands up, they're not going to shoot me. This is what I'm thinking. They're not going to shoot me," he said. "Wow, was I wrong."

Officer put on administrative leave

Video provided to the Miami Herald taken moments before the shooting shows Kinsey lying in the middle of the street with his hands up, asking the officers not to shoot him. (Screengrab)

After he was shot, the police turned Kinsey on his back and handcuffed him. He said they left him on the ground, bleeding and handcuffed, for 20 minutes.

Kinsey's injuries are not life-threatening. His lawyer, Hilton Napoleon, told the Miami Herald that he is working on a settlement for his client. 

The officer who shot Kinsey has been put on administrative leave. The North Miami Police Department and the state attorney's office are investigating.

Police are asking any witnesses or anyone with video of the event to come forward and speak with them.

Watch the full raw video provided by Kinsey's lawyer to the Miami Herald below.


  • An earlier version of this story said incorrectly that the shooting happened Wednesday. In fact, it occurred Monday evening.
    Jul 21, 2016 11:58 AM ET

with files from CBC News