Local behavior specialists react to shooting of Miami man shot while helping autistic client

Posted at 4:51 PM, Jul 21, 2016

It didn't take long for news to spread about the shooting of a behavioral therapist in Miami at a Clearwater adult disabled center.

Charles Kinsey, an unarmed African American, was shot by a police officer while trying to help a 24-year-old man who ran away from his group home.

Kinsey who had his hands up in the air was trying to calm his client in the middle of a road. 

ARC Tampa Bay helps provide services and living arrangements for disabled adults in the Tampa bay area. 

Chuck Thompson has been working as a behavior specialist at the non-profit for 21 years, and has ran into a police encounter with a client before. 

"I was in that situation basically, I had to shield my client from getting shot," he said. 

No one was hurt in the incident years ago, but Thompson said every day is different dealing with adults with different behavioral issues. 

The shooting of Kinsey, of course puts a fear in his mind -- along with police and race relations in the country.

"I think police officers should be retrained in areas like this," he uttered. 

Thompson has worked with one client, Michael May, for seven years at his group home, as he prepares him to live beyond the group home into his own apartment. Thompson is a teacher and a friend when it comes to accompanying May to different functions around the area -- that include beaches, amusement parks and malls. 

Thompson helps direct May with tasks like personal hygiene, how to take care of a bedroom, to work activities. 

The 24-year-old autistic man who was caught in the middle of the police shooting was holding his toy truck, that someone called 911 thinking it was a gun. "

"He didn't seem like he knew what was taking place because you could clearly hear him yelling as well."

The conversation about autism is often times talked about for children, but not often for adults. 

Autism Speaks, a national non profit, also works to help place adults with the proper support and programs in the bay area. 

There will be a financial workshop on Saturday 7/23 to help people with disabilities and their families by bringing together financial experts to plan their future. 

You can learn more on their website here.