North Miami police officer Jonathan Aledda will face criminal charges for allegedly shooting Charles Kinsey, the unarmed caretaker of an autistic man, last July. The shooting was captured on video by a bystander and showed Kinsey lying on his back on the ground with his hands up in the air before he was shot by Aledda.
Aledda, 30, was arrested yesterday and charged with attempted manslaughter and a misdemeanor charge of culpable negligence. He was booked into Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center and was reportedly released on bail later in the day. News sources did not name an attorney for Aledda.
According to the arrest report, the incident occurred on July 18, 2016. North Miami police officers received a 911 call from someone who believed to have seen a “disturbed man armed with a handgun.” The man the caller reported was Arnaldo Rios, 26, a severely autistic man who had wandered away from a group home and was sitting in the middle of the street. The “handgun” was actually a silver toy truck.
Kinsey, a behavioral therapist charged with caring for Rios, was attempting to get him back to the group home when the police arrived. Aledda, a trained SWAT officer, was one of the officers who arrived at the scene. Kinsey’s standoff with the police ended with Aledda reportedly firing three shots at him, wounding his thigh.
Kinsey survived the shooting and has since sued North Miami over Aledda’s unwarranted use of force. The press identified his attorney as Hilton Napoleon. Napoleon declined to comment because of the ongoing federal litigation.
Aledda’s arrest marks the first time the office of Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle has charged a police officer for an on-duty shooting. Her prosecutors concluded that Aledda was over 150 feet away from Kinsey at the time of the shooting, and that two other armed officers who were much closer didn’t feel threatened. In a statement released to the press, Rundle said Aledda “was not in a position to correctly assess the situation or in a position to accurately fire.”
The charges filed against Aledda by the state attorney have not been well received by North Miami’s police union, which is representing the officer in the case. John Rivera, president of the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association, slammed the state attorney’s decision to file charges as “politically motivated, vindictive and incompetent.” He said there was no intent and the state attorney is “never going to be able to prove that this guy acted maliciously or recklessly in any way.”
Rivera publicly defended Aledda after the shooting, saying he was actually aiming at Rios because he believed that the autistic man was armed and a danger to his caretaker.
“This guy was trying to save a life. The fact that he missed, the last time that I checked, is not a crime,” Rivera said told sources yesterday.
But after several months of discussions and re-enactments, and reviews of witness statements, police radio transmissions, and other evidence, the state attorney’s office concluded that Rios was not a threat and Aledda’s use of force was not legal.