Rev. Susan K. Smith

Rev. Susan K. Smith

(GEORGE CURRY MEDIA)—By now, everyone has seen the video of a man in North Miami, Fla.—an unarmed Black man trying to calm a patient with autism—on the ground, his hands up, warding off police.

Charles Kinsey was working with a patient who had a toy truck in his hand. Someone had called police, saying that a man had a gun and police showed up, but they apparently ignored Kinsey as he lay on the ground, hands up, telling officers that he had no gun and that that which they thought was a gun in the hands of the man with autism was actually a toy truck.

They ignored Kinsey, and one of the officers shot him. Kinsey said he was surprised and asked the officer why he had shot him and the officer responded that he didn’t know.

To add insult to injury, officers handcuffed him after he had been shot.

The incident is maddening; had Kinsey not survived, the narrative about and around what had happened to him would have been swallowed up in law enforcement rhetoric. Citing that the “hands up” story of Michael Brown, the young man shot by police in Ferguson, Mo. two years ago, was cited as being false, the story would have been that this “hands up” story was also likely false. A video of the incident would have been thoroughly investigated and the officers would have been put on “paid administrative leave,” with the investigation showing, ultimately, that the officers were not at fault.

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