North Miami, FL – The police shooting of Charles Kinsey on July 18, 2016, outraged the nation, as video footage captured Kinsey lying on his back with hands in the air, begging the cops not to shoot his patient who was holding a toy – but a cop shot him anyway. Because American citizens have been conditioned to accept rampant police incompetence and violence, the cop who shot him was acquitted on two counts attempted manslaughter in 2019 with only a single misdemeanor charge of culpable negligence sticking.
Now, however, even that slap on the wrist has been reversed.
In 2017, State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle — did something she's never done in her 24 years in office — she charged a cop, officer Jonathon Aledda, for an on-duty shooting. However, this was all in vain. This month, Aledda's conviction for culpable negligence was overturned and he can remain a cop.
Last Wednesday, an appeals court quietly reversed Aledda's conviction, stating that the officer's training on hostage situations should have been allowed in his previous trial.
“The trial court’s refusal to allow [Asst. Police Chief Rivera] to testify as Aledda’s SWAT training regarding hostage procedures – has merit and requires us to reverse Aledda’s conviction of the crime of culpable negligence,” the appeals court wrote.
But Kinsey's attorney disagrees.
“This was not a SWAT operation, so I’m not sure what is SWAT training have to do with this,” said Charles Kinsey’s attorney, Hilton Napoleon.
Undoubtedly, a key factor in Aledda's charges was the cellphone video taken by a brave citizen who was unafraid to film police.
The scene unfolded that fateful day when Kinsey, a behavior technician at a group home, was trying to calm a distressed autistic man, Rios, who had left the home. Rios had a toy truck in his hand, but the cop thought there was a gun, despite Kinsey repeatedly saying, “He has a toy truck.”
Afterward, the Miami-Dade police union attempted to rationalize the shooting by saying Aledda was trying to shoot the “white male” to protect Kinsey, but missed and struck Kinsey by mistake.
“The movement of the white individual looked like he was getting ready to discharge a firearm into Mr. Kinsey,” Miami-Dade union boss John Rivera told WSVN.
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The veracity of that claim, however, is in serious doubt after stunning revelations were reported by the Miami New Times.
“Moments before North Miami Police Officer Jonathan Aledda shot unarmed behavioral technician Charles Kinsey last July 18, another cop on the scene warned there was no gun, only a toy.”
The bewildering idea that none of the cops on the scene could see Rios had a toy truck, not a gun, was indeed a farce. Someone did see the toy truck and warned all the officers, but Aledda shot moments after.
These facts were revealed through an audio recording of North Miami Police Chief Gary Eugene's interview with Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) investigators.
"I heard the shooter, Officer Aledda, make a statement to the nature of 'Be advised, I have clear shot [of] subject,'" Eugene said, describing the audio of the police radio just before the shooting. "Later on, a sergeant... got on the air and said, 'I have a visual; it is a toy. Is it a toy? QRX.' That means 'Stand by; don't do anything.' Then there is a conversation back and forth. The next transmission was by [another officer saying] 'Shot fired!'
I heard the sergeant, who advised earlier that it was a toy, say, 'Hold fire! Hold fire! It was a toy,' trying to stop whoever was doing the shooting."
Aledda was put on paid suspension after the shooting, and the Miami-Dade State Attorney finally came to the decision to charge him. But he has now escaped justice.
Days after the shooting, Chief Eugene decided to listen to audio of the shooting, after he realized that Assistant Chief Larry Juriga lied to him about events surrounding the shooting. Juriga tried to say that another officer, Police commander Emile Hollant, gave the order to shoot – so Juriga could carry out a personal vendetta against Hollant.
In fact, Hollant was going to get binoculars to verify what Rios had in his hand, but when he came back from his patrol car, Kinsey had been shot.
“What the [court 's] opinion did was took Officer Aledda’s perspective as to what happened and gave him special treatment even though a jury had discounted what he actually said,” said Napoleon.
Indeed. As for Kinsey, he said he is willing to testify again at a third trial if they are willing to have one.