North Miami officials defend decision to fire police chief

Chief Gary Eugene fired after investigation of Charles Kinsey shooting

By Christian De La Rosa - Reporter

NORTH MIAMI, Fla. - North Miami leaders defended their decision to fire police Chief Gary Eugene during a meeting held Wednesday night.

But some at the meeting weren't buying their reasoning.

"As a resident of North Miami, I don't trust you anymore," a resident said.

That feeling was echoed by a majority of people who attended the meeting.

Officials played audio recordings they said serve as evidence that the chief of the North Miami Police Department lied and gave contradicting statements when detectives interviewed him regarding his handling of the Charles Kinsey shooting.

Cmdr. Emile Hollant was in charge of the scene when Kinsey, a behavioral therapist, was shot as he was on his back with his hands in the air. Sitting next to him was an autistic man, Arnaldo Rios, who was holding a toy truck.

Kinsey was shot by Officer Jonathon Aledda, who has since been charged with attempted manslaughter and culpable negligence.

Hollant originally told Eugene he hadn’t witnessed the shooting.

An investigation later showed Hollant had been present "prior, during and after the shooting incident," according to city records.

"Evidence also suggests the chief may have colluded with one of the officers in question to circumvent the internal affairs investigation," City Manager Larry Spring said.

Eugene was at the meeting.

"I believe they're trying to create a side story," he said.

Eugene went on to say he is "definitely" considering legal action.

The city is set to fire Eugene on July 7 if he refuses to accept a severance package.

When asked if he's reconsidering his choice to fire Eugene, Spring said no. 

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