We are a group of social work graduate students attending a state university in California.
This letter is written in praise of Charles Kinsey, the behavior therapist who was recently shot and injured by North Miami police when he was trying to guide an escaped autistic client back to his group home.
We have just read a news article from the Miami Herald about Mr. Kinsey’s reunion with his client after the incidence.
We are deeply moved and inspired by his love for his client.
As social workers, many of us are actively working with clients that have disabilities in group home settings.
Behavior therapists such as Mr. Kinsey have a difficult job.
Working with clients with autism requires a solid understanding of human behavior, safety procedures, and excellent judgments in crisis situations.
No one could have done a better job than he to ensure the safety of his client on the day he was shot while in the middle of the street.
We understand that police were called and when they arrived at the scene, Mr. Kinsey explained to them that he was trying to persuade his patient to return to the group home, that this was an autistic young man who was playing in the street with a toy truck and that he was there doing his job as a behavior therapist.
To help diffuse the situation, Mr. Kinsey lay on the ground on his back, his arms extended in the air to show police he had no weapon.
The fact that Mr. Kinsey was still shot by police under full compliance reflects the systemic issues that have been plaguing our country.
We are truly sorry for the injustice that he has suffered.
Thank you, Mr. Kinsey, for your inspiring courage and compassion.
Yi Zhang, Jesus Limon and four others who signed this letter are social work graduate students attending California State University, Long Beach.