The North Miami cop who shot an unarmed man trying to calm a patient with autism was hit accidentally, police union officials said, and the officer believed he was saving that man’s life.

The shooting of behavior therapist Charles Kinsey on Monday was caught on a witness’s cellphone video and went viral Thursday. It also sparked outrage nationwide as an apparent example of excessive policing against an unarmed black man.

Kinsey, before he was shot in the leg, could be seen lying on the pavement with his hands in the air. He told police that he was unarmed and that the man sitting beside him was autistic and holding a toy truck — not a gun as a 911 caller had claimed.

John Rivera, president of the Police Benevolent Association in Dade County, told reporters Thursday that the officer who fired thought Kinsey’s life was in danger.

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