MIAMI (CBSMiami) – North Miami Police Officer Jonathan Aledda is now facing criminal charges in the shooting of Charles Kinsey – a behavioral therapist.
Wednesday afternoon the State Attorney’s office announced Aledda was being charged with attempted manslaughter and culpable negligence for the July 2016 shooting.
This is the first time, under Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, that there has been a prosecution of a police officer for an on-duty shooting.
Investigators say Kinsey was following autistic patient Arnaldo Soto who had left the facility with a silver tanker truck in his hand. Kinsey was trying to return Soto to the facility at the time.
Police say at some point they got calls about a man, possibly suicidal, with a silver weapon in his hand. That’s when North Miami Police showed up.
Officers were spread out over several blocks with two officers within 20 feet of the two men to survey the situation.
Kinsey yelled that Soto had a toy truck, according to the arrest affidavit. Cellphone video showed Kinsey lying on the ground with his arms up.
Investigators say Aledda, who was 152 feet away from both men, fired three shots during the situation – injuring Kinsey in the right thigh.
Kinsey spoke about the shooting.
“This is disturbing. I play this in my head every day and I can’t sleep at night. This could have gone the other way. I’m blessed that it didn’t,” said Kinsey back in July 2016.
The State Attorney’s Office determined Aledda was not in any position to correctly assess the situation or in a position to accurately fire, prompting the criminal charges.
The arrest affidavit further clarified that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) found Kinsey heard yelling “all he has is a toy truck.”
The affidavit states, “Officer Aledda expressed uncertainty about whether the object was a gun and said no other officer on the scene observed Soto exhibit any behavior that compelled them to shoot.”
It also says, “once officer Bemedeau made it to his last point, approximately 15 to 20 feet away from Mr. Soto and Mr. Kinsey, he was able to see that the object in Mr. Soto’s hand was ***not*** a gun.”
The report further says, “Officer Aledda’s rifle did not have any enhanced optical sights. Such sights could have aided in seeing that Mr. Soto was holding a toy. Instead Mr. Aledda’s rifle was only equipped with iron sights.”
“Basically the state attorney has vindicated my client of any wrong doing by prosecuting Jonathan Aledda for shooting Charles Kinsey,” said attorney Michael Joseph.
Josepsh is talking about Cmdr. Emile Hollant, who was on scene that day. While he isn’t criminally charged right now, he’s not out of the woods just yet, according to the city manager.
“He was not charged criminally, but our internal affairs investigation and procedures in this matter is the reason why he continues on paid administrative leave,” said Larry Spring.
Escorted by Miami-Dade Corrections officers, Aledda left jail Wednesday evening.
He had no comment concerning the charges.
The Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association is taking issue with the arrest of Officer Aledda.
“This is a political arrest. It has been politicized, the entire arrest. Officer Aledda took this job to save lives. Officer Aledda made a split second decision back in July and 9 months later the State Attorney hands down an indictment for this. If it was so clear cut why did it take 9 months,” said Luis Fuste with the Miami-Dade P.B.A.
Hilton Napoleon, the attorney for Charles Kinsey, said he is not able to comment on the matter due to the pending case he has on this in federal court.
The charges come after a lengthy inquiry into the police investigation, evidence, site re-enactments, and witness statements after an investigation by FDLE.