As of Wednesday, April 12, 2017, North Miami police officer Jonathan Aledda, who shot an unarmed African-American man last July, has been charged with attempted manslaughter and culpable negligence. Florida-Dade state attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, stated that the charges were the “result of a lengthy inquiry.” During this time, Aledda remained on paid administrative leave, where he was placed after the incident.

Shooting of unarmed Behavioral Therapist

The shooting occurred on July 18, 2016 following a 911 call by concerned citizen saying they were witnessing a “possibly suicidal person.

North Miami Police officers were dispatched to the scene, Aledda was one of them. The man the caller had witnessed was Arnaldo Rios, 23, a young man with autism staying as a resident at the Miami Achievement Center for Developmentally Disabled. Rios walked away from the facility and his caretaker, Charles Kinsey, 47, followed him in an attempt to coax him back. The young man had a toy truck in his hand, the object initially thought to be a weapon.

Kinsey and Rios were outside and Rios was playing with the toy truck when the police officers begun to close in on them. When Kinsey noticed the officers getting closer, he laid down and threw his hands in the air. According to a cellphone video taken of the two men, Kinsey yelled that there was no threat.

“All he has is a toy truck in his hands. A toy truck,” Kinsey said, “I am a behavior therapist at a group home.”

An officer about 15-20 feet away from Kinsey and Rios heard Kinsey yelling that the object was a toy and radioed to the rest of his team to take caution. A few minutes later, the officer confirmed that the “object did not appear to be a firearm.” The affidavit stated that Aledda was not the closest officer to the scene; he was 152 yards away from Kinsey when he fired, the other two were within 20 feet.

“Officer Aledda was not in the position to correctly assess the situation or in a position to accurately fire,” prosecutors stated in the press release.

Civil Rights lawsuit against Aledda

Following the shooting, Kinsey was interviewed from his hospital bed. “I said, ‘Sir, why did you shoot me?’ His words to me, he said ‘I don’t know.’” Kinsey later filed a Civil Rights lawsuit against Aledda.

Robert Switkes, the attorney representing Aledda in the civil suit stated that it was “inappropriate to bring any charges against the officer,” and believes Aledda will eventually be exonerated. Kinsey’s attorney Hilton Napoleon declined to comment.

Aledda did not initially give a statement following the incident, but later defended his actions. “I took this job to save lives and help people. I did what I had to do in a split second to accomplish that and hate to hear others paint me as such.” It is not yet known whether Aledda has since entered a plea.

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