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Protest against police shooting of healthcare worker helping autistic man

By Cassia Laham

‘I don’t know’ is not enough!

North Miami, FL- About 50 activists and members of the North Miami community gathered at the North Miami Police Department, July 25, to protest the recent shooting Charles Kinsey. Protesters held signs that read, “Fire and jail all (wannabe) killer cops,” and “All lives will matter when Black lives do.” The protest included an hour long sit-in inside the police station, where they demanded answers for the attack on Charles Kinsey.

Kinsey is a Black behavioral healthcare worker who was shot twice in the leg by police officer Jonathon Aledda. He got shot while attempting to assist a nonverbal autistic man, Arnaldo Rios, who was a client at the group home where Kinsey works.

At the time Kinsey was shot, he was lying on the ground with his hands up, explaining to the officers that he was a healthcare worker and that the young autistic man sitting on the ground next to him only had a toy truck, not a gun. When Kinsey asked why the cop shot him, Aledda answered, “I don’t know.” This prompted protesters to chant “’I don’t know’ is not enough!” outside of the police station.

To add insult to injury, after shooting Kinsey, cops proceeded to put him in handcuffs rather than call an ambulance. And in a disgraceful attempt to defend officer Aledda, the Police Benevolent Association explained that Aledda was trying to shoot Rios, the 26-year-old autistic man, but missed.

Once they all squeezed inside the police station, protesters demanded complaint forms, so that each person there could file an official complaint against Aledda. The police told the activists that they do not have official complaint forms or an official mechanism for filing their complaints, so police tore out pieces of paper from a notepad and handed them out.

Activists felt slighted by this action, knowing that complaints on random pieces of paper would not be taken seriously. So they used the papers to also write up speeches that they later delivered, explaining why they were there and why communities across the nation must keep fighting for justice.

Many of the protesters at the sit-in were teachers, who explained that police brutality is an issue that affects their students on a daily basis and that they feel they must speak out against. Some even spoke about how teachers are trained and certified in interacting with students with emotional and behavioral disabilities and mental disabilities. One teacher in attendance asked, “Why aren’t these police officers trained to deal with mental breakdowns and people with disabilities the way we are? Why was their first instinct to shoot? Can you guarantee us that our autistic children will not be victims of police brutality?”

This was the second protest at the North Miami Police station for Charles Kinsey, and activists vowed to continue fighting until the police officer is fired and put on trial.

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