Even when a person obeys police orders and places their hands above their head, they can still get shot.
In southern Florida, police shot an unarmed black man who tried to help an autistic patient blocking traffic after he wandered from an assisted living facility, according to The Washington Post.
The man, Charles Kinsey, is a caretaker at the facility in Miami, and was “trying to calm the autistic man and defuse the situation seconds before he is shot,” Michael E. Miller wrote.
The incident was caught on film and is a rare event where the unarmed man who was shot survived.
“I was really more worried about him than myself. I was thinking as long as I have my hands up … they’re not going to shoot me,” Kinsey told WSVN.” This is what I’m thinking, they’re not going to shoot me. Wow, was I wrong.”
The video raises questions about police procedure and the wisdom of shooting someone who didn’t present an immediate threat to the officers.
The North Miami Police Department has placed the officer on administrative leave as they conduct an investigation.
“As I stand here, 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, so we, as a district, are in shock,” Congresswoman Frederica Wilson told WSVN.
A recent Harvard study on policing found that officers were more likely to use force in interactions with blacks than with whites, though the data was limited in scope.
Kinsey’s lawyer, Hilton Napoleon, told The Guardian that “if police departments admitted their fault in incidents like this more often,” it could improve relations between citizens and police.
The shooting comes after mass protests have been sparked by police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota, as well as heavy criticism after targeted police killings in Dallas and Baton Rouge. Some have blamed protesters for the violence, while protestors point to civilian deaths and unjustified uses of force by the police as justifications for increased police scrutiny.
In January, a police officer in nearby Miami Gardens was shot in what police described as an “assassination attempt.” Though 2016 has seen several high-profile police deaths, police fatalities have been steadily declining since the 1980s. At an average of 101 deaths per year when Ronald Reagan was president, they’ve declined to 62 deaths per year as Barack Obama has been president.