Unarmed caretaker of man with autism testifies in trial of cop who shot him

Trial of North Miami Officer Jonathan Aledda begins with victim's testimony

By Liane Morejon - Reporter, Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - The last time a police officer faced a jury over a shooting in Miami-Dade County was about three decades ago. On Thursday, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Alan Fine listened to the state's first witness in the trial of North Miami Officer Jonathan Aledda.

On July 18, 2016, Charles Kinsey was working as a MACTown caretaker when Aledda, who was armed with a rifle, shot him. Kinsey was trying to get Arnaldo Rios, a MACTown resident who is severely autistic and has an IQ of 40, back home.  

Officers Alens Bernadeu and Kevin Crespo ordered Kinsey to get on the ground. Kinsey said he remembered saying a prayer and keeping his hands up. Aledda, 32, fired his weapon and Kinsey was wounded in the middle of Northeast 127th Avenue at 14th Street. 

"I felt the shots," Kinsey said. "I was in shock. My hands were still up."

Prosecutors decided to charge Aledda with two counts of felony attempted manslaughter and two counts of culpable negligence. 

"Having power over life and death, he chose death," prosecutor Reid Rubin said about Aledda's decision to shoot. 

Video shows Kinsey was near Rios, who had ran away from home and was sitting on the ground while holding a shiny object.

Aledda aproached the scene as a hostage situation, and he thought the shiny object was a gun, but it turned out to be a toy truck, according to defense attorney Douglas Hartman. 

"This is a life or death situation," Hartman said. 

Kinsey said he was wounded when officers handcuffed him. He said he wanted to know why he had been shot, but none of the officers could tell him why.

Kinsey has a pressure-washing and landscaping business now. Before the trial started Thursday, he said he is still in physical pain. 

"I have an issue with my leg," Kinsey said. "I still have metal fragments in my leg." 

Prosecutors called two more witnesses: The woman who called 911 to say Rios was holding something that appeared to be a gun, but she said she wasn't sure if it was a gun. The state's third witness is a dispatch supervisor who testified that while things should be repeated over the police radio, dispatchers are not on the scene, so it's up to the officer to evaluate a situation. Trial resumes at 9 a.m., Friday. 

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