North Miami police officer charged in shooting of Charles Kinsey

Jonathon Aledda charged with attempted manslaughter, culpable negligence

NORTH MIAMI, Fla. – A North Miami police officer who shot an unarmed therapist of an autistic man last year was released from jail on bond Wednesday night after his arrest.

The Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office charged North Miami police Officer Jonathon Aledda with attempted manslaughter and culpable negligence.

File: Jonathon Aledda Arrest Warrant

Aledda didn't speak to reporters as he walked out of jail Wednesday night.

Cellphone video shows Charles Kinsey lying on his back in July 18, 2016, with his hands in the air in the area of Northeast 14th Avenue and Northeast 127th Street. Sitting next to him was an 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.

Sivano Hernandez, who recorded the shooting, told Local 10 News that Kinsey was being submissive and trying to calm down the autistic man, identified as Arnaldo Rios, who was holding a toy truck.

"Before police even showed up he laid down with his hands up," Hernandez said. "Everybody at this point thought that the little toy (truck) was actually a gun because it looked silver and shiny."

In the video of the incident, Kinsey is heard telling officers that he is unarmed.

Authorities said Aledda was behind a car 152 feet away when he shot Kinsey.

Hernandez said he doesn't believe that Aledda could hear what Kinsey was saying to the officers who were closer to him.

"I'm very sure that there was no possible way that you could hear from that distance," he said.

Kinsey, who was Arnaldo Rios' behavioral therapist at the Miami Achievement Center for the Developmentally Disabled, survived the shooting.

Prosecutors said in a news release that Aledda fired three shots from his Colt M4 carbine rifle, one of which struck Kinsey.

Aledda told the Police Benevolent Association that he was aiming for the autistic man, but Charles Kinsey, the behavioral therapist, was hit in the leg. 

The news release stated that Aledda "was not in a position to correctly assess the situation or in a position to accurately fire."

"We are satisfied with the proper due process undertaken by the North Miami Police Department and state attorney," MACTown president and CEO Clint Bower said in a statement. "We thank them for their efforts and effectively recognizing the severity of this situation, especially as it relates to innocent individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caretakers.

"While this was an unfortunate incident, the safety and wellbeing of the individuals served by MACTown  remain an utmost priority, and we continue to deliver the highest quality of life for the people we serve."

Meanwhile, prosecutors said last August that a North Miami police commander accused of giving conflicting information in the case would not face charges.

Sources told Local 10 News that Cmdr. Emile Hollant was the voice on the police radio telling dispatchers and other officers that someone had a gun. They said he then lied to investigators, telling them he wasn't at the scene when the shooting happened.

File: Close-out memo for North Miami police Cmdr. Emile Hollant

According to the close-out memo, Hollant provided a voluntary statement to prosecutors and said that he was at the scene of the shooting and "engaged to some degree in the incidents that led up to the shooting and those that followed."

But he claimed that he returned to his police-issued vehicle, more than a block away, to retrieve his binoculars when he heard gunshots and did not witness Aledda firing his weapon.

File: Charles Kinsey lawsuit against Officer Jonathon Aledda

Hollant's attorney released a statement Wednesday, saying that while his client had been cleared of wrongdoing by the state attorney's office, the North Miami Police Department has yet to allow Hollant to return to work.

"The state attorney has fully vindicated my client Cmdr. Emile Hollant of any wrong doing by only prosecuting Officer Jonathan Aledda for the shooting of Charles Kinsey," attorney Michael Joseph said. "Nonetheless, the city of North Miami has not reinstated Cmdr. Hollant to active duty nor made any attempts to clear his good name. The city must stop protecting bad cops and officials within its ranks, and make things right with my client."

Meanwhile, the Dade County Police Benevolent Association stands behind Aledda.

"Katherine Fernandez Rundle hasn't arrested an officer on duty in her 23-year tenure. We feel that this is nothing more than a political arrest," Luis Fuste said. 

Kinsey has filed a lawsuit against Aledda, seeking damages for the "pain and suffering, mental anguish and emotional distress" he has suffered as a result of the shooting.

Aledda faces up to 5 years in prison if he is convicted of attempted manslaughter and up to a year in prison if he is found guilty of culpable negligence.

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