MIAMI - A suspended North Miami police officer accused of shooting an unarmed mental health therapist in 2016 testified Wednesday afternoon in his attempted manslaughter trial.
Officer Jonathan Aledda is also charged with culpable negligence in the shooting of Charles Kinsey.
Authorities said Kinsey was shot in the leg as he sat on the ground with his hands up next to his autistic patient, Arnaldo Rios, who was playing with a silver toy truck, which a 911 caller thought was a gun.
Aledda testified that Rios "was moving around the whole time" and pointed the toy, which Aledda also believed was a gun, in the direction of another officer before turning around and pointing it at Kinsey.
He said he fired at that time, believing Rios was going to shoot Kinsey.
"You ever aiming at (the) black male?" Aledda's defense attorney asked him.
"No, sir," he said.
"Were you surprised when you got out there and he was injured?" the attorney asked.
"I was devastated," Aledda said.
"Why?" the attorney asked.
"I was trying to do everything in my power to help him," Aledda said, fighting back tears.
Prosecutor Reid Rubin, however, called Aledda's recollection of events into question during cross examination.
"It was like an arcade game, but with human beings?" Rubin asked.
"No, sir. It was not an arcade game. This is life and death, sir," Aledda responded.
"You chose death," Rubin said.
"To save Mr. Kinsey's life," Aledda countered.
On Wednesday, jurors also heard from a witness who described what he saw moments after Kinsey was shot by Aledda.
"The black male -- he wasn't being treated like a criminal when he was being put into Fire Rescue? Is that what you said?" Rubin asked.
"Yes," Jiovanni Clark Taylor said.
"How was he being treated when he was shot? Was he being treated like a criminal then?" Rubin asked.
"I thought something was wrong when they shot him. They usually shoot criminals," Clark Taylor said.
Authorities said Aledda fired three shots in total, one of which struck Kinsey. Kinsey survived his injuries, and Rios was not injured.
The defense rested its case Wednesday. Closing arguments are scheduled to begin Thursday.
Copyright 2019 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.