Cop ignored instructions before shooting at a man playing with a toy truck
The bullet hit the disabled man’s behavioral therapist, Charles Kinsey.
Behavioral therapist Charles Kinsey made headlines last year when video circulated of him laying on his back —unarmed, hands raised in the air — before a North Miami police officer shot him in the leg.
Before he was shot and handcuffed, Kinsey pleaded with officers not to shoot him or his autistic patient, Arnaldo Rios, who was playing with a toy truck in the middle of the street. Within hours, a local police union chief reported that the shooting officer, Jonathan Aledda, had actually been aiming for Rios, who was believed to be carrying a firearm at the time.
Now, audio obtained by the Miami New Times reveals that Aledda was told not to shoot because Rios appeared to have a toy.
“I heard the shooter, Officer Aledda, make a statement to the nature of, ‘Be advised, I have clear shot [at] subject,’” North Miami Police Chief Gary told investigators with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, after reviewing audio of 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!’”
Aledda shot off three rounds, while the unnamed sergeant yelled for him to stop.
“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,” Eugene said.
The police chief’s version of events not only verifies what Kinsey was saying all along — that Rios was playing with a toy —but once again calls into question why Aledda opened fire at all.
Last July, when Rios strayed from his group home, toy in hand, an anonymous woman dialed 911 to report him. She told a dispatcher that a man in the street, Rios, was holding what looked like a gun to his head. But she also said Rios looked like he had a mental illness and she wasn’t sure if he was actually holding a gun.
Commander Emile Hollant, who was at the scene with Aledda, also claimed Rios was holding a toy.
“We were told that the subject had a toy. So I wanted to make sure that it was a toy that he had in his hand,” he told prosecutors weeks later. Hollant left to retrieve binoculars from his car, and saw blood when he returned. “All this time I thought it may have been [the suspect] that had shot a weapon. I never thought for a second that one of my officers might have shot.”
Eight months have passed since the shooting, but Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle still hasn’t decided to bring charges against Aledda.
During his interview, Eugene slammed the department’s officers for their lack of training. “Thank God [Kinsey] did not die. I realized I have a problem with the training of my staff. We’re talking about some 15 or 16-year veterans, but in North Miami, a 15 or 16-year veteran may have less experience than a two-year cop in Miami.”