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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A North Miami healthcare worker who was shot by a police officer as he lay on the ground has filed a lawsuit.
The news comes as CBS4’s Peter D’Oench obtained a closeout memo from the State Attorney’s Office revealing no criminal charges against a police commander involved in the incident.
The inquiry started after reports that North Miami Police Cmdr. Emile Hollant gave conflicting statements about the use of deadly force.
It turns out prosecutors say he never witnessed the shooting and did not lie.
Hollant was suspended without pay a week after Charles Kinsey, who was assisting a 26-year-old autistic patient that wandered away from an assisted living facility, was shot by Officer Jonathan Aledda.
Cellphone video showed Kinsey, an employee at Miami Achievement Center for the Developmentally Disabled, flat on his back on the street, arms raised into the air, as he’s confronted by North Miami police.
The police union said officers believed the autistic patient, Arnaldo Rios, who had only a toy truck with him, was threatening Kinsey and they fired, hitting Kinsey in the leg by mistake.
Hollant reportedly gave inconsistent or false statements about the incident. He said he was the uniform patrol supervisor at the scene of the police shooting on July 18th.
Hollant’s attorney says the department shifted the blame to his client in Kinsey’s shooting.
“He was used as a scapegoat as being a part of this whole incident and obviously based on the investigation by the state attorney the report that goes against the whole assertion and he did nothing wrong,” Michael Joseph said.
The State Attorney’s Office had pretty much the same to say.
The memo states, “However, he had returned to his police vehicle, over a city block from the location of the victims of the shooting, to retrieve his binoculars when he heard gunshots.”
Three shots were fired by Aledda.
The memo continues, “Cmdr. Hollant was thus not physically present when Officer Aledda fired his weapon nor did he witness the actual shooting.”
The report adds, “We conclude that Cmdr. Hollant did not lie and that there was no intent by Cmdr. Hollant to mislead or obstruct investigators or command staff officers regarding his involvement in the police shooting.”
“It basically says that he didn’t lie and he acted proper under his responsibility as a commander on scene,” Joseph said.
The closeout memo also said Chief Gary Eugene believed the suspension was in error and he had been misinformed by his own staff.
The State Attorney’s Office says it appears there was a miscommunication and there’s insufficient evidence to generate a formal criminal investigation.
In response to that, CBS4 spoke with Kinsey’s attorney.
Attorney Hilton Napoleon said Kinsey spoke to the officer who pulled the trigger.
“He asked the officer, ‘why did you shoot me?’ And the officer said ‘I don’t know,'” said Napoleon.
Kinsey’s federal lawsuit cites excessive force, false arrest, and violating his civil rights. He’s demanding damages for pain and suffering.
The State Attorney’s Office plans to conduct an investigation into the shooting once the Florida Department of Law Enforcement completes theirs.
CBS4’s Peter D’Oench spoke with the city manager who said the city could not comment until all of the investigations, including an internal one by the city, were completed.
So as far as we know, Cmdr. Hollant remains suspended without pay.