North Miami police officers testify in Jonathan Aledda trial
Aledda accused of shooting unarmed mental health therapist in 2016
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Friday marked day two in the trial of a suspended North Miami police officer charged in the shooting of an unarmed mental health therapist.
The oblong shiny toy truck that sparked the shooting that injured the unarmed therapist, Charles Kinsey, is now a key piece of evidence in the trial of Jonathan Aledda.
"Did you ever see him point that toy in Officer Crespo's direction?" the prosecutor asked Sgt. Milton Reid, referring to another North Miami police officer who was also at the scene the day of the shooting.
"Not that I recall," Reid said.
Authorities said Reid was standing 10 feet away from Aledda on that July 2016 afternoon.
Police officers converged on the scene after receiving a call about a man with a weapon, only to find Kinsey on the ground with his hands up next to his autistic patient, Arnaldo Rios, who was playing with a silver toy truck.
"I heard the gunshots and I assumed it came from them," Reid said.
"Why did you think it only came from Charles or Arnaldo?" the prosecutor asked.
"Because I didn't see a reason for an officer to shoot," Reid said.
The jury heard the dispatch recordings from the day of the shooting and saw cellphone video of the encounter, which was recorded by a witness.
Three shots were fired by Aledda and paramedics testified Friday that one bullet hit Kinsey in his leg.
"The entire time I was dealing with him, he was just asking why he was shot," Darren Thompson, of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, said.
Aledda's rifle was also on display in the courtroom.
The suspended officer is accused of being reckless and is charged with two counts each of attempted manslaughter and culpable negligence.
The defense argues it was a chaotic scene and Aledda had every right to fire -- something a fellow officer who was also at the scene that day seemed to suggest while on the witness stand.
"Did you feel at any time it was pointed at you, you were in danger?" Officer Arlene Bernadeau was asked on the stand.
"Yeah, you're going to feel like you're in danger, but I knew at that time that it was very hard for him to strike me," he said.
Aledda's defense team maintains that he was in fear of his life when he fired his gun.
His trial resumes Monday.
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