For Immediate Release
ACLU of Florida Statement on the Police Shooting of an Unarmed Man in North Miami
MIAMI, FL - The below statement on the shooting of Charles Kinsey by North Miami police officers is from Howard Simon, Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida:
“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.
“This 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, Vernell Bing in Jacksonville: there are too many to name them all here. Of the 598 people killed by U.S. police this year, 88 were unarmed. Mr. 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.
“Additionally, 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.”
“We are grateful that both Mr. Kinsey and his patient are alive, but without changes in policy and improved training of officers, we will very likely see more needless shootings and deaths at the hands of police.”
Attorney Jeff Hearne, President of the Greater Miami Chapter of the ACLU of Florida stated:
“In his press conference today, 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.
“We are calling on the North Miami Police to release any police camera footage related to the incident. 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 and determine whether it adequately protects both law enforcement and the public.
“The community deserves answers about how this happened and what will be done to keep it from happening again.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is our nation’s guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.
Since our founding in 1920, the nonprofit, nonpartisan ACLU has grown from a roomful of civil liberties activists to an organization of over 500,000 members and supporters, with offices in almost every state.
The ACLU of Florida, with headquarters in Miami, is the state affiliate of the national organization. Chartered in 1965, the ACLU of Florida operates with four offices throughout the state and approximately 25 staff members.