A North Miami Police Officer reportedly warned another cop who shot Charles Kinsey, an unarmed behavioral technician, last July that no gun was present, Miami New Times reports.
The revelation comes via an hour-long audio recording of North Miami Police Chief Gary Eugene’s interview with Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) investigators.
The New Times obtained the audio on Tuesday.
Kinsey was caring for an autistic man who had wandered off from a group home when he was shot by an officer on July 18. The incident became a staple in the Black Lives Matter movement, one that seeks to hold police accountable for what seems like a growing number of incidents where Black men are fatally wounded at the hands of law enforcement.
Cell phone footage of the incident showed Kinsey lying in the ground with his arms in the air and begging police not to shoot him. Officer Jonathan Aledda then shot him in the leg.
According to the New Times, the July 28 recording serves as evidence that an assistant chief repeatedly falsified information when speaking with the police chief. The publication also said City Manager Larry Spring ignored vital evidence connected to the case.
Union officials reportedly justified Officer Jonathan Aledda’s actions by saying he thought the autistic man with Kinsey had a gun, not a toy truck.
But Police Chief Gary Eugene’s statements to the FDLE contradict that assertion.
“I heard the shooter, Officer Aledda, make a statement to the nature of ‘Be advised, I have clear shot [of] subject,'” Eugene said, as he described police audio recorded 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!'”
Eugene also made statements about the department’s handling of the incident during the FDLE interview.
“The scene was a mess, to be honest with you,” he tells investigators of the Kinsey shooting. “People were walking all over the place. 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.”
No one has been charged in the case, but Ed Griffith, a spokesman for Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle’s office, told the paper, “we are very close to coming to a decision.”
“It’s pretty damning what’s in that tape,” Michael Joseph, an attorney representing Emile Hollant, a North Miami Police commander who was suspended after the shooting and who is suing the city over his discipline said. “The police chief outlines rogue officers in that department and other rogue officials. Something has to be done about this. The city has to do the right thing here and clean house.”
In August, Kinsey filed a lawsuit accusing Aledda and other officers of wrongfully arresting him and using excessive force during the incident. Kinsey alleges that Aledda did not help stop the bleeding after the shooting, even after officers determined that he was not a threat.
The federal lawsuit is demanding a jury trial, unspecified monetary damages and any other fees due to the physical, emotional and mental pain experienced as a result of the incident.
“By failing to render aid, Officer Aledda allowed Mr. Kinsey to unnecessarily bleed out on the ground for a significant period of time, which further exasperated Mr. Kinsey’s recovery time for his injuries,” the complaint reads.
Listen to the hour-long interview below.