A North Miami police officer who shot an unarmed Black man who was lying in the street with his hands up has been charged, The Philadelphia Tribune reports.
Jonathon Aledda, a four-year veteran of the force, is facing charges of attempted manslaughter and culpable negligence in the July 2016 shooting of Charles Kinsey.
Kinsey was shot as he attempted to protect Arnaldo Soto, an autistic man who had wandered away from a home for those with mental disabilities. Soto was playing with a toy truck that police believed could be a gun.
But despite surrendering with his hands in the air, Kinsey was shot by Aledda.
According to an affidavit, Aledda was not the closest officer to the scene. In fact, he was 152 feet away from Kinsey when he fired, the document claims.
“Officer Aledda was not in a position to correctly assess the situation or in a position to accurately fire,” prosecutors said in a press release.
Cellphone video of the incident caused outrage and resulted in protests at the time.
“All he has is a toy truck in his hands. A toy truck,” Kinsey says in the video. “I am a behavior tech at a group home.”
An officer who was approximately 15-20 feet away heard Kinsey and told other police officers at the scene to “use caution” because “the person advised that it’s a toy” over the radio.
Shortly after the warning, Aledda fired three times, according to the affidavit. Kinsey was struck in the right leg. He was taken to a local hospital and was treated for his injuries.
“When he shot me, it was so surprising, it was like a mosquito bite,” Kinsey said during an interview with WSVN at the time. “I said, ‘Sir, why did you shoot me?’ His words to me, he said, ‘I don’t know.'”
The local police union representing Aledda labeled the shooting “accidental.”
“The movement of the White individual made it look like he was going to discharge a firearm into Mr. Kinsey, and the officer discharged trying to strike and stop the White man,” said John Rivera, president of the Dade County Police Benevolent Association. “Unfortunately, he missed the White male and shot Mr. Kinsey by accident.”
Aledda is currently on administrative leave.
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