Cop Charged in Shooting of Autism Patient's Unarmed Caregiver
The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office is pursuing a case against North Miami Police Officer Jonathan Aledda.
Last summer's high-profile Florida shooting of an autism patient's unarmed caregiver has now led to charges against the police officer who pulled the trigger.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney issued a warrant Wednesday for the arrest of North Miami Police Officer Jonathan Aledda in connection with the shooting of behavioral therapist Charles Kinsey.
In July 2016, Aledda and others from the North Miami Police Department responded to a call about a man, possibly suicidal, with a silver weapon in his hand.
The initial call came when a resident of the Miami Achievement Center for the Developmentally Disabled (MACtown), who required 24-hour one-on-one supervision, left the facility with his silver tanker truck toy in-hand, according to a statement from the state attorney's office.
Kinsey, the man's behavioral therapist, closely followed in an attempt to return him to the facility.
To assess the situation, North Miami police spread out over several blocks.
Video of the incident shows Kinsey trying to coax the patient, seen sitting cross-legged with the toy truck in his lap, back to the center.
Though he was unarmed, Kinsey said he instinctively put his hands in the air as police arrived.
Two police officers were within 20 feet of the situation when Officer Aledda, who was 152 feet away, fired three shots from his Colt M4 Carbine rifle, the state attorney said.
"Officer Aledda was not in a position to correctly assess the situation or in a position to accurately fire. It was one of Officer Aledda’s shots which struck Charles Kinsey," the state attorney said.
A statement from the Dade County Police Benevolent Association would later defend Aledda, who they say was aiming for the autistic patient and "missed."
Police approached Kinsey and he was handcuffed while bleeding on the concrete, he said.
When Kinsey asked an officer why he was shot, he claimed the officer responded, "I don't know."
The video sparked national outrage as viewers asked that same question.
"I was thinking as long as I have my hands up, they’re not going to shoot me," Kinsey later told reporters from a hospital bed. "This is what I'm thinking — they're not going to shoot me. Wow, was I wrong."
Aledda has been charged with attempted manslaughter, a felony, and one misdemeanor count of culpable negligence.
"These charges are the result of a lengthy inquiry which included a prosecutorial review of the police investigation, numerous police and prosecutor meetings to review case evidence, site re-enactments and the taking of additional statements of police witnesses after the completion of the FDLE investigation," the state attorney wrote.
Aledda's attorney, Robert Switkes, told ABC News following the filing of charges that his client would be exonerated, saying it was "totally inappropriate to bring any charges against the officer."
In a statement he made last summer, Aledda said, "I took this job to save lives and help people... I did what I had to do in a split second to accomplish that and hate to hear others paint me as something I'm not."
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