Commentary: Lack of Prompt Medical Attention Aggravating Factor in Police Shootings

Screen-shot shows another "hands-up, don't shoot" moment
Screenshot shows another “hands-up, don’t shoot” moment

The reports came out yesterday that police in South Florida shot another unarmed black man.  In this case, Charles Kinsey was attempting to chase down a young autistic man – who had wandered away from his assisted living facility and was blocking traffic – when he was shot by a North Miami police officer.

The incident was caught on cellphone footage, where Mr. Kinsey is lying on the ground, hands in the air, trying to calm the young man and defuse the situation.

Mr. Kinsey is heard on the video to be saying “all he has is a toy truck in his hand.”  The officers, hiding behind nearby poles around 30 feet away, have assault rifles trained on them.

“That’s all it is,” he  says. “There is no need for guns.”

But no matter, the officers fire three times, one hitting Mr. Kinsey in the leg.  He told local TV, “I was thinking as long as I have my hands up … they’re not going to shoot me…  Wow, was I wrong.”

But it gets worse, as police then handcuffed him and left him bleeding on the pavement for “about 20 minutes.”

For all of the talk about the use of force, and use of lethal force, we have lost sight of something else – the lack of respect for the sanctity of life shown by police officers.

These are words that permeate the perception in black communities across the country.  As the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force reported back in April, “CPD’s own data gives validity to the widely held belief the police have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color.”

The notion of the sanctity of life is heavily embedded into the PERF (Police Executive Research Forum) report that aims to shift the guiding principles for the police use of force protocols.  As Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood stated, “I think somewhere along the way we in American policing have lost the ability to realize why we took this job. It was to protect the sanctity of human life.”

As Chuck Wexler writes in the forward to PERF’s Guiding Principles on Use of Force, “Ultimately this report is about the sanctity of all human life – the lives of police officers and the lives of the people they serve and protect. The preservation of life has always been at the heart of American policing. Refocusing on that core ideal has never been more important than it is right now.”

He adds, “Across the country, community members have been distressed by images of police officers using deadly force in questionable circumstances. These incidents are an infinitesimal fraction of the millions of interactions that take place between the police and the public every week. Most police officers never fire their guns (except during training) throughout their entire careers, yet they face enormous challenges and risks to their own safety on a regular basis and they perform their jobs admirably. But police chiefs tell us that even one bad encounter can damage trust with the community that took years to build.”

PERF recommends that, rather than “think[ing] solely about their own safety,” police officers should take “a broader approach designed to protect everyone’s lives.”

One of the key recommendations is Recommendation 7, to “respect the sanctity of life by promptly rendering first aid.”  They write, “Officers should render first aid to subjects who have been injured as a result of police actions and should promptly request medical assistance.”

They cite Seattle Police Department policy: “Following a use-of-force, officers shall render or request medical aid, if needed or if requested by anyone, as soon as reasonably possible.”

As Deputy Chief Christy Lopez of the US DOJ Civil Rights Division notes, “We’re asking something very difficult of our officers. It asks a lot to be willing to take another human being’s life, so we’re asking them to do that only when it’s necessary, and then to turn around and try to save that person’s life that they just tried to take. That’s a difficult thing to do in the moment. If we train them to do that beforehand, it makes it easier to do that, and it puts them in a better frame of mind to understand the dual role that we are asking them to play as police officers—to be willing to take someone’s life, and then turn around and try to save that same life.”

One of the key examples comes out of the Cleveland shooting of Tamir Rice.  Ms. Lopez notes, “When people watched that Tamir Rice video, and this happens in a lot of videos, unfortunately, to the public, it looks like the officers are idly standing around and waiting for the ambulance to arrive while someone may be bleeding to death.”

She continued, “And in that video in particular, you see Tamir Rice’s sister come running up, to try to be by her brother’s side, and then you see the officer tackle her. That’s not a good image. We need to teach officers how to handle that, to treat family members respectfully, to understand what the family is going through, what the community is going through, even as they handle these scenes. And it’s expecting too much of any human being to handle these situations if they haven’t been trained in advance.”

In San Francisco, Ken Williams, a former homicide detective in Boston and a use of force expert, made a similar note.

Not only was Tamir Rice shot within 20 seconds of the encounter, basically precluding an attempt to resolve the situation without the loss of life, but, Mr. Williams noted, “[a]nother problem with this video, after he shoots him, does anyone see the police officers running to the aid of the individual now shot?”

This is the problem we have in the latest shooting – not only do we have the police apparently overreacting to a situation by firing a weapon, but they compound it by failing to get Mr. Kinsey prompt medical attention.

Don Shor made a very perceptive comment the other day, noting, “It seems that the proven disproportional use of force in non-lethal settings leads to a perception in the black community that they are singled out unfairly. That has been true, undoubtedly, for many years and has led to great frustration. Whether it’s racist or not, or based on conscious or unconscious bias, isn’t really the point: the perception is there and it has some foundation. The lethal cases just become a flash point for that frustration, especially when they are unjustified.”

The lack of medical attention in these cases further feeds into the perception in the black community that their lives simply do not matter.  That is a narrative that organizations like PERF are trying to change.

—David M. Greenwald reporting


About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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55 thoughts on “Commentary: Lack of Prompt Medical Attention Aggravating Factor in Police Shootings”

  1. Biddlin

    Not just in the black community, but any community where these all too frequent armed assaults and executions occur. Paradise is still scarred by the savage murder of Andrew Thomas at the hands of former police officer Patrick Feaster, who allowed Thomas to suffer inside his overturned pickup for 11 minutes, before telling a superior that he had shot the victim. BTW, while awaiting trial for the leneint charge of “involuntary” wink wink, nudge nudge manslaughter, Feaster was arrested,  along with his younger brother, 28 year old Timothy Feaster, for being drunk and disorderly, March 15, 2016 at a home in Central Chico.


  2. The Pugilist

    This is a huge part of the problem.  Don Shor really made a brilliant observation the other day.  How do you convince the black community this isn’t racism when you have excessive force and indifference to human life.  Leaving a human being bleeding on the street for twenty minutes is unconscionable = how do you convince him it’s not about the color of his skin?

  3. Barack Palin

     Leaving a human being bleeding on the street for twenty minutes is unconscionable = how do you convince him it’s not about the color of his skin?

    Do you have evidence that it’s only black victims that aren’t being quickly treated?

    1. The Pugilist

      Did you read my question?  The question was how are you going to convince him that it wasn’t about his skin color?  As Don pointed out, perception matters.

      1. Barack Palin

        If you have a group of people who have had victimhood drilled into them their entire lives it doesn’t matter what the situation is. It’s not just about they feel cops don’t get them medical assistance fast enough, it will be about everything the encounter.  They have a chip on their shoulder so they feel they’re getting the short end of everything in life.  How are you going to change perception?  Articles like this certainly aren’t going to help.

        1. The Pugilist

          Really someone who was shot and left bleeding in the street might react without a benefit of the doubt because they’ve “had victim hood drilled into them their entire lives”?  Seriously, you are whack.

        2. Delia .

          “Articles like this certainly aren’t going to help.”

          Comments like this aren’t going to help. It seems like every time there is a discussion of race relations or police bad judgment,  you have a knee jerk response of “What about me? I’m white. Where are the examples of white victims?” Then, in your next breath, it’s the “victim mentality” that’s causing blacks to be abused? You need the empathy gene. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes for just a few seconds, before you begin judgment.

        3. Barack Palin

          Then, in your next breath, it’s the “victim mentality” that’s causing blacks to be abused? 

          Oh boy.  Yet another new(?) commenter putting words in my mouth.  Follow the conversation, it was about perception.  Where have I ever stated that victim mentality is causing blacks to be abused?  What I wrote was that victim mentality can make a group feel like they’re getting unjustly abused when at times that really isn’t the case.

      2. The Pugilist

        When a Tulsa, Oklahoma, reserve deputy accidentally shot 44-year-old Eric Harris, he was already being subdued by other officers. “Oh shit, he shot me!” Harris says in the video. “I’m losing my breath.”
        “F*** your breath,” one officer says in response, among the last words Harris would ever hear.

        I really have to prove this stuff to you?

  4. Sam

    Screenshot shows another “hands-up, don’t shoot” moment

    David-What other situation are you referring to where someone was shot with their hands up?

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      I’m glad someone took my little subtle bait. I did use the term “moment” and I did so to illustrate that the Ferguson moment was not nearly as contrived as some later believed it to be.

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          You’re missing the point. This shooting is not an isolated incident, there is a reason why hands up, don’t shoot resonated. As I read your comments, you don’t want to admit that there is a real problem here and I don’t understand why that is.

        2. Barack Palin

          there is a reason why hands up, don’t shoot resonated

          As proven in the Ferguson case it was a lie and I see your post as nothing more than trying to save face and justify a lie that so many tried to run with in the Michael Brown shooting.

        3. Barack Palin

          Did you read SOD’s article?  The cop says he was trying to shoot the white guy and missed and hit Kinsey by accident.

          “It appeared to the officers that the white male was trying to do harm to Mr. Kinsey,” Rivera said. “In fearing for Mr. Kinsey’s life, the officer discharged his firearm trying to save Mr. Kinsey’s life and he missed.”

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            Yes they shot at the autistic guy and hit the black guy. Much better. BUT, the key point to the article is then they left him bleeding on the street for 20 minutes. The whole point of the article was the lack of medical attention.

        4. Loki

          Wow, BP. How does the fact that the police were aiming at the autistic dude with a toy fire truck make their shooting of the caretaker or the delay of medical treatment any better? Here’s a thought: maybe you should watch the video so that you can witness the absurdity of that situation. After you do, ask yourself: can one really argue that there wasn’t an inappropriate overreaction and use of force by the police in this situation?

        5. Barack Palin

          Loki, I’m flattered, you seem to have a fixation on me.  You only lend us your wisdom in response to my comments.  Your moniker is new so are you new here, is it just a new alias of a former commenter or do you have more than one alias?

          Now to the subject at hand.  Follow the comments.  David thinks he’s clever by supplying what he thought was “my little subtle bait” about hands up don’t shoot.  As you can see I totally shot down (pardon the pun) his attempt at making the hands up don’t shoot lie relevant and showed it didn’t apply to this situation.  As for the autistic white man, do you know for certain that the cops didn’t think the toy truck was a gun, after all it was reported that it was.  Are you a mind reader?  As for the innapropiate use of force or the medical response that’s a whole totally different conversation than we were having here.  Here’s a thought, maybe next time try to FOLLOW THE CONVERSATION before you comment.

          Hmmm, you do remind me of someone……..

        6. Loki

          Oh, the conversation between you and David was easy enough to follow, it’s just that it is apparent from your comments that you have only read the article providing the officer’s statement, and that you have not bothered to actually watch video of the events as they happened. Nothing in your statements suggests that you believe there was an inappropriate use of force (forget David’s baiting about Ferguson and “hands up don’t shoot” – can you honestly say that the use of force here was appropriate, regardless of anyone’s race?). If you had watched the video, you’d know that it’s apparent that the guy is autistic and playing with a toy truck because his caretaker is yelling “All he has is a toy truck in his hands. That’s all, there’s no need for guns” at the police (also, it helps that you can see it’s a truck). I’m not a mind reader and I don’t claim to be one –  I just bothered to watch the tape. Maybe you should, too.

          And I’m flattered that you’re flattered by this attention. As the god of mischief, I usually only appear to mess with the obtuse.

        7. Loki

          “In Greek mythology Loki…”

          Ha ha ha, oh, that’s a good one! Thanks for the laugh BP! Ha ha ha, “greek god”, ha ha ha! Oh, my sides! Stay well informed! /s

        8. Loki

          “Norse or Greek, who cares? ”

          The great All-Father Odin cares. Say he’s fictitious all you want, but when was the last time you saw Frost Giants in Midgard?

        9. Barack Palin

          I think the great All-Father Odin should stick to things like fighting for the $15 minimum wage and farm worker’s rights instead of trolling Barack Palin.  😉

        10. Delia .

          “Do you know for certain that the cops didn’t think…”

          OMG the man was warning the cop that the person with autism had a toy truck, yet you explain it away as the cop didn’t believe him and thought it was a gun. Really? Again, pretend for just one moment that you have autism. or perhaps know someone with autism. Now imagine you are the caretaker of a person with autism. Empathy.

      1. Sam

        So you are purposely reiterating an incorrect story to prove that there is a problem that needs to be solved? I would think that you should be able to prove your point using actual facts. Also, I don’t think that at this point anyone believes that there is not a distrust of police in a large number of urban communities so there is no real reason to perpetuate a false story.

        I think what we need to start looking at is why these situations continue to happen and what can be done so everyone in the community can trust their police force.

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          No, I simply suggested that it’s a common refrain in the black community that police fire their weapons even if their hands are up. This present case demonstrates that.

        2. Barack Palin

          This present case demonstrates that.

          No it doesn’t.  According to the cop he was trying to shoot the white guy who didn’t have his hands up.  I think you should do a little bit more research before you make allegations.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            That’s his claim. That doesn’t make it accurate. Also when I wrote this, the claim from the police was not available.

        3. Sam

          So if you do a story on the rise in AIDS cases worldwide are you going to have a picture of toilet seats and drinking fountains to prove your point?

          This seems to be the first case where that actually happened, but it does not prove that the black communities perception is factually correct. And it still does not address why they feel that way or give any suggestions as to how to fix the problems.


        4. Barack Palin

          That’s his claim. That doesn’t make it accurate.

          No surprise that you may jump to that conclusion.  But the white guy was reported to have a gun so it at least makes the officer’s reaction more believable even though it turned out to be a toy truck:

          Police were responding to a call about a possible suicidal man with a gun.

      1. South of Davis

        David wrote:

        > Where did I call the cops racist?

        Have you ever said you “don’t think cops are racist”?

        If you don’t think the cops are racist please let us know why you think a higher percentage of blacks are shot by the police.

        If you don’t think cops are racist let us know why a MUCH higher percentage of your articles are about racism, black that don’t feel safe and blacks complaining about getting shot with their hands up.

  5. PhillipColeman

    There is a protocol common with many law enforcement agencies in instances whenever SWAT teams (or its equivalent) are mobilized. An ambulance is also summoned to the scene and remains on stand-by until the incident is neutralized.

    The rationale for justification is obvious. Emergency medical treatment and transportation is immediately available for any law enforcement officer, suspect, or innocent bystander who may be seriously injured.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      Phil: I can’t tell if you’re saying that proper procedure was followed here? Clearly PERF believes this is a critical problem.

      1. PhillipColeman

        The delay strongly suggests that no stand-by ambulance was in place. Nothing was said about a stand-by ambulance being there.

        I don’t know if this particular agency has such a policy, probably not. I did not say it was proper, just common practice. Propriety is a value statement, and I’ll l leave that discussion to the ready force of critics and analysts.

  6. Biddlin

    “…watch the video so that you can witness the absurdity of that situation. After you do, ask yourself: can one really argue that there wasn’t an inappropriate overreaction and use of force by the police in this situation?”

    Union’s statement:”The police officer opened fire because he thought the other man, whom authorities later learned has autism, was holding a gun and was about to shoot Kinsey.”

    I guess it was too exciting for him to shut up and listen to the guy he was allegedly protecting when he shot him, because he was demanding compliance and that supersedes all other issues, right officer?

    Shooter’s statement released by his union:”I took this job to save lives and help people,” according to the officer’s text statement. “I did what I had to do in a split second to accomplish that, and hate to hear others paint me as something I’m not.”

    What needs to be said here is that, clearly based on his actions and best concocted excuse, there should be no question of the shooter’s intelligence. He is stupid. A common condition in departments that only hire below a certain IQ and weed out those who indicate compassion.

    First thing, change the job requirements from a GED and authoritarian attitude.

  7. Biddlin

    A good first step would be to hire smarter cops. Just read the excuse the shooter makes through his union:”I took this job to save lives and help people, I did what I had to do in a split second to accomplish that and hate to hear others paint me as something I’m not.” Anyone else notice what he doesn’t say? Things like, “I’m sorry.” or even “I made a terrible mistake.” Nope. he says, “hate to hear others paint me as something I’m not.” Stupid and insensitive.

    Hire cops with a little compassion, instead of authoritarian issues about getting compliance. This guy wasn’t bright or humble enough to for a moment and listen to what the guy he was allegedly protecting was saying. This guy is also not competent to carry a gun, lucky for his intended victim, not so much for Charles Kinsey..

  8. Biddlin

    As I’ve tried to post, with attributions, the story you’re all missing is that this was the result of of institutionalized stupidity and arrogance. There is a huge library of evidence to show that PDs hire low IQ, aggressive, non compassionate, authoritarian personality types and train them extensively in combat techniques and not at all in de-escalation. What are their weapons for? To gain compliance with their commands and assert their dominance. In this case, the  cops weren’t listening to the victim they allege to be aiding and instead, luckily for the autistic fellow, but not for Kinsey, shot, for no articulable reason I can conjure and hit the wrong guy (and apparently missed entirely, twice) then handcuffed him, while he lay bleeding. The incompetence, insensitivity and arrogance on the part of the police here is phenomenal

    1. Frankly

      Yeah… well liberal social justice activists and BLM and black cop killers… they are all going to make it worse.  What young person today is setting his/her sights on becoming a cop?

  9. Frankly

    No, I simply suggested that it’s a common refrain in the black community that police fire their weapons even if their hands are up. This present case demonstrates that.

    There is a lot of mythology in the black community.  For example, they think that voting for Democrats is going to make their lives better.

    You might make the case that irrational mythology explains a lot of continued problems in the black community.  You make the cause of perceptions, but I know a few alcoholics… and entire families that are a destructive mess because they have adopted a negative mythology that basically blames externalities for problems that are internal.

    Do we help anyone adopting and responding to myths?  Because it is a perception then we should act on it to eliminate the perception?  How about we stick with the facts and start pushing back for what is actually real?

    This is what you get when you accept the mythology:

  10. tribeUSA

    Why was he left on the pavement to bleed for 20 minutes? Was an ambulance called immediately after the shooting (and took 20 minutes to get there); or was there a delay of 5-10 minutes or more before the ambulance was called? More details on the facts would be nice. I wonder if the bullet had pierced a major leg artery and the man was obviously bleeding heavily if the cops would have intervened; say by tying a cord (belt or something) tightly around the man’s upper leg (above the bullet wound) to constrict the blood flow? If not; a broken leg artery (e.g. femoral artery) could cause him to bleed out and die within 20 minutes.

    I agree with the premise of the article–the case that sticks in my mind is that of Freddie Grey; who despite repeatedly requesting medical assistance; was ignored and driven about Baltimore for a long time (nearly an hour?) before being delivered to the hospital. Seems to me incidents like that are negligence to a criminal level; shouldn’t happen.

  11. Loki

    Ha ha, you’re not wrong, Biddlin. And BP’s penchant for doing so certainly makes things a lot easier for me. The Greek/Norse mixup was a gift, in that it encapsulated those qualities you described into one post.

    Funnily enough, I’m pretty sure DP is halfway convinced that we’re the same person, and that just amuses me to no end!

  12. Jerry Waszczuk


    Merin said Shergill’s family called police to escort him to a Veterans Administration clinic in Stockton for treatment of his post-traumatic stress disorder. He said the family had called police in the past for an escort.
    However, police officials maintain that when officers arrived, Shergill lunged at them with a knife after repeated orders to drop the weapon. Police officials said the officers shot Shergill in self-defense.
    The two officers have been on paid administrative leave since the incident, as is standard procedure during officer involved shootings.
    Merin filed a claim against the City of Lodi last month asking for greater transparency from the police department, as well as further information into Shergill’s death. Merin said the claim will more than likely lead to a lawsuit.

  13. David Greenwald Post author

    Hey BP:

    The story is still developing.  Yesterday they placed a second police officer “on unpaid administrative leave because of “conflicting statements given to the investigators” looking into the shooting…”

    From the Washington Post:

    a police union official said that the officer had actually been aiming for the man with autism, rather than Kinsey, when he opened fire.

    John Rivera, president of the Miami-Dade County Police Benevolent Association, called the shooting an accident and said Aledda thought that the man with the toy had a gun.

    “Fearing for Mr. Kinsey’s life, [Aledda] discharged his firearm,” Rivera said during a news conference Thursday. “In trying to save Mr. Kinsey’s life, he missed and accidentally struck Mr. Kinsey.”

    But on the video:

    In the video showing the moments before the shooting, Kinsey can be seen lying on his back, hands raised, yelling to the officers, two of whom are seen hiding behind telephone poles a few dozen feet away.

    “All he has is a toy truck in his hand,” Kinsey yells, while the other man sits next to him. “That’s all it is. There is no need for guns.”

    A lawyer for the wounded therapist, Charles Kinsey, meanwhile, told the Miami Herald he does not believe a police union official who claimed the shooting was an accident.

    Kinsey’s lawyer, Hilton Napoleon, on Friday cast doubt on the union leader’s explanation. He said he didn’t believe that a SWAT team member with four years’ experience would be a poor shooter. Napoleon also said the officer should have warned Kinsey to move away if the intended target was the other man.

    Kinsey, in an interview from his hospital bed, said he asked Aledda why he shot him after he was hit. He said the officer answered, “I don’t know.

    So now there are two officers suspended without pay for inconsistent stories.  The stories don’t seem to match the video.  But for reasons that are not clear you have bought into the union official’s explanation (that doesn’t make sense).

    1. Barack Palin

      The story is still developing

      That we both can agree on.

      a few dozen feet away.

      A few dozen?  Like 5,6,7,8?

       He said he didn’t believe that a SWAT team member with four years’ experience would be a poor shooter.

      Three shots were fired and one bullet went into Kinsey’s leg.  Where did the other two shots go if the officer was a good shot?  Look at the the video, Kinsey was laying on the ground directly behind the autistic man along the line of fire.  Was he possibly trying to clip the autistic guy in the arm?  leg?  and missed?  We don’t know at this point because as you stated the story is still developing.

      We’ll know more after the investigation, until then it’s all just postulation.



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