North Miami police Officer Jonathon Aledda identified in controversial shooting
Second officer placed on leave without pay for providing conflicting statements
NORTH MIAMI, Fla. – A North Miami police officer who shot an unarmed man earlier this week has been identified as Jonathon Aledda.
Law enforcement sources told Local 10 News that Aledda received death threats after cellphone video was released showing the incident has made headlines around the country.
Sources said the police department had held off on naming the officer to protect him.
City officials held a news conference Friday, where they named Aledda, 30, who is a member of the department's SWAT unit, as the gunman.
Aledda has been with the police department for four years. He was previously honored as officer of the month in September 2013 and October 2014.
He has been placed on administrative leave with pay as is standard protocol after a police-involved shooting.
"As your mayor of this great city of North Miami, I assure you that we will go wherever the truth takes us and any necessary decisions will be taken by the proper authorities," North Miami Mayor Dr. Smith Joseph said. "Now, I have had the change to sit with my city manager, my chief of police as well as my city attorney. I must tell you, community concerns will be addressed."
A second police officer, Cmdr. Emile Hollant, has been suspended without pay for giving conflicting statements about the circumstances surrounding the controversial shooting of Charles Kinsey, city manager Larry Spring said.
"This will not be tolerated," Spring said. "As city manager, I am aware of the public's sentiment. We have received hundreds of calls and emails both at our police department and at City Hall. I can assure you we are listening."
Sources told Local 10 News that Hollant was the voice on the radio telling dispatch and other officers that someone had a gun. They said he then lied to investigators, telling them he wasn't even at the scene when the shooting happened.
Spring said a team of people will review all calls and emails and report back to him.
North Miami officials made it clear that the city will not stand behind an officer who they believed lied or fabricated evidence in the case.
"An officer who betrays the trust of any residents of any community must be shamed, removed, fired and of course completely, completely lose the right to ever wear an officers' uniform again," North Miami city clerk Michael Etienne said.
Local 10 News reporter Layron Livingston was at the North Miami Police Department Friday morning as the city manager and city attorney walked into police headquarters to meet with officials about the shooting.
"They will be much better off saying sorry to my client and trying to acknowledge the fact that something went terribly wrong," Kinsey’s attorney, Hilton Napoleon II, said.
Kinsey's attorney told CNN on Thursday that there's "no justification" for the shooting. Napoleon appeared on CNN with Kinsey's employer, Clint Bower.
"He's received extensive crisis-intervention training. Unfortunately, our police department doesn't seem to receive that same training," Bower said.
Cellphone video shows Kinsey lying on his back Monday with his hands in the air in the area of Northeast 14th Avenue and 127th Street. Sitting next to him was a 24-year-old autistic man holding a toy truck.
Police said they were called to the area about a man who was walking around with a gun and threatening to commit suicide.
Dade Police Benevolent Association president John Rivera said the officer fired in an effort to keep Kinsey safe, but missed his intended target.
"The one officer discharged his firearm trying to strike the individual that they thought was trying to bring harm onto Mr. Kinsey. This is not a case of police brutality," Rivera said. "This is not one of those cases where it's a rogue cop. This is not a case other than an officer who was trying to save the life of Mr. Kinsey and feels horrible that his aim missed and struck Mr. Kinsey."
Kinsey's boss dismissed Rivera's claim, calling Kinsey the hero in the incident.
"The PBA is now trying to say they intended to shoot my client, and they accidentally shot my employee. To me, that's just outrageous," Bower said.
Local 10 News reporter Amy Viteri spoke to Sivano Hernandez, who recorded the incident.
"Before police even showed up he laid down with his hands up," Hernandez said.
Hernandez said Kinsey was being submissive and trying to calm down his autistic client, who was holding the toy truck.
"Everybody at this point thought that the little toy train was actually a gun because it looked silver and shiny," Hernandez said.
In the video, Kinsey is heard telling officers that he is unarmed, but Hernandez said Kinsey was not shot by the officers seen in the video, but by one of two officers who took cover more than 100 feet away behind a car.
"Do you think he could have heard what Mr. Kinsey was saying at the time when he was shouting?" Viteri asked.
"I'm very sure that there was no possible way that you could hear from that distance," Hernandez said.
Kinsey was shot once in the leg. His attorney said the city is hoping to settle the issue with his client as soon as possible.
Bower said he offered North Miami police training on how to deal with people with disabilities two years ago after police stunned another client of his with a Taser. He said the department never took him up on his offer.
Aledda released a statement Thursday saying that his goal as a police officer has always been to save lives.
"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," he said.
Kinsey's attorney claims that Aledda told his client that he didn't know why he shot him, but the PBA insists that Aledda had no contact or communication with Kinsey after the shooting.
According to Aledda's personnel files, Aledda had at least one complaint filed against him in 2013 after responding to an armed robbery in progress at a North Miami business on West Dixie Highway.
The business owner, Odilon Celestin, claimed that he was pushed against a wall twice by Aledda on Oct. 30, 2013, before and after being handcuffed, causing injury to his right elbow.
Celestin was taken to the police station, where it was determined that he was actually the victim of the robbery.
He was released and taken back to his business by another police officer.
Aledda was exonerated from the allegations after investigators determined that he used the amount of force he believed was necessary after being given a description of the subject over the police radio.
A Department of Justice representative is expected to meet with city leaders to discuss community relations while handling the outcome of the shooting.
North Miami police have opened up a hotline for community comments. Those who wish to voice their comments or concerns are asked to call 305-547-8644.
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