MIAMI – A North Miami police officer on trial for the shooting of a man who was interacting with a man with autism has been found not guilty of attempted manslaughter.
In the retrial of Jonathan Aledda, the jury found him not guilty on two counts of attempted manslaughter for the shooting of Charles Kinsey and guilty on one count of culpable negligence.
"We thought he never should've been charged to begin with and we're disappointed that he was convicted or they found him guilty of a misdemeanor," defense attorney Douglas Hartman said after Monday night's verdict.
Video of the 2016 shooting made national headlines.
Arnaldo Rios, then 26, escaped from the group home where Kinsey worked as his caretaker.
Rios, who has severe autism, ended up sitting in the middle of Northeast 127th Avenue at Northwest 14th Street with a silver toy truck in his hands.
Kinsey sat beside him to calm him down. But when witnesses called police reporting a man with a gun, things escalated with Aledda firing his weapon.
During Monday's closing arguments, prosecutors told the jury Aledda put the lives of Kinsey and Rios in danger.
"There was no reason for Officer Aledda to fire his weapon that day," assistant state attorney Don Horn said.
Defense attorneys countered that the evidence suggests a shiny object Rios was holding was initially believed to be a gun. It ended up being a silver toy truck.
Earlier in the day, Aledda testified that he thought Kinsey's life was in danger and that he was forced to fire at Rios, inadvertently shooting Kinsey instead.
"It appeared that he was screaming for mercy or for help or something," Aledda said.
Prosecutors claim Aledda rushed to judgment and that if he had taken the time to assess the situation, he would have realized there wasn't a gun.
"Sir, if I had waited another minute or two, there would be somebody dead," Aledda said.
A previous jury acquitted Aledda on another count of culpable negligence but could not reach a verdict on the other three counts.
"The jury spent a lot of time on this case," Horn said. "We think that the verdict they returned was fair."