Home / National News / North Miami police officer charged in July 2016 shooting of caretaker of man with autism

 

(MIAMI) — A North Miami police officer who shot the caretaker of a man with autism last summer has been charged with attempted manslaughter, according to officials.

On Tuesday, the Florida State Attorney’s Office announced charges for North Miami Police Officer Jonathan Aledda for the July 18, 2016, shooting of behavioral therapist Charles Kinsey, who was unarmed.

Initial 911 calls described a “possibly suicidal” man with a “silver weapon in his hand,” and officers with the North Miami Police Department were dispatched to the scene, according to the release from the state attorney’s office.

The man detailed in the call was a resident of the Miami Achievement Center for the Developmentally Disabled, according to the release. After the resident had left the center, Kinsey closely followed him in “an attempt to return him from the street back into the facility,” the release states. The man was holding a silver tanker truck toy in his hand, according to the release.

Aledda fired three shots, one of which struck Kinsey. At 152 feet away, Aledda was “not in the position to correctly assess the situation or in a position to accurately fire,” the release states. Two other police officers “were within 20 feet of the situation” when Aledda fired.

In addition to the attempted manslaughter charge, a third-degree felony, Kinsey is being charged with culpable negligence, a first-degree misdemeanor.

Photos after the incident showed Kinsey laying on the ground with his arms up as the man with autism sits next to him.

The state attorney’s office said the charges are “the result of a lengthy inquiry,” which included a prosecutorial review of the police investigation, numerous police and prosecutor meetings to review case evidence, site enactments and statements from police witnesses.

After the shooting, Aledda, a member of the department’s SWAT team, was placed on paid administrative leave, city officials said last July.

Aledda said in a statement last July through the police union, before his name was released: “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 something I’m not.”

In a statement to ABC News Luis Fuste, secretary of the Dade County Police Benevolent Association, said the charges against Aledda are the state attorney’s way of putting “all officers on notice.”

Fuste called the charges “problematic in today’s culture,” in which there are “endless situations” where someone who is potentially brandishing a weapon could pose “a threat to many people around them.”

The North Miami Police Department did not immediately return ABC News’ request for comment.

Aledda’s attorney, Robert Switkes, did not immediately return ABC News’ request for comment. It is unclear if Aledda has entered a plea to the charges against him.

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