Police officer arrested after shooting autistic man’s therapist

Rios was clearly playing with a toy truck instead of a gun.

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Recorded on video last year shooting an unarmed therapist, a Florida cop was arrested Wednesday for nearly killing an innocent man lying on the ground with his empty hands in the air. According to court records, the North Miami police officer was charged with a felony count of attempted manslaughter and a misdemeanor charge of culpable negligence.

On July 18, 2016, North Miami police officers responded to a 911 call concerning a man with a gun threatening to kill himself. When they arrived at the scene, police found Charles Kinsey talking to an autistic patient named Arnaldo Rios who had wandered off from a nearby mental health clinic. Instead of holding a gun, the autistic man sat in the street playing with a toy truck.

“All he has is a toy truck in his hands,” Kinsey attempted to explain to the officers in the video. “I am a behavior tech at a group home. That’s all this is. There is no need for guns.”

Kinsey remained lying on the ground beside Rios with his empty hands in the air when Officer Jonathan Aledda suddenly fired three bullets at them without provocation. Shot in the thigh for no justifiable reason, Kinsey was placed in handcuffs and denied medical attention for approximately 20 minutes.

According to the other officers at the scene, Rios was clearly playing with a toy truck instead of a gun. Taking cover within 20 feet away from Kinsey and Rios, officers Kevin Crespo and Alens Bernadeau realized the autistic patient was not a threat as Kinsey continued attempting to de-escalate the situation.

At 5:06 p.m., Bernadeau said over the radio, “The person advised that it’s a toy – it’s the toy, uh, car.”

Moments later, Aledda stated, “I have a clear shot of the subject.”

As Bernadeau approached Kinsey and Rios, he radioed, “I have a visual. Does not appear to be a firearm. Have units [standby].”

Before Bernadeau and Crespo could place Rios in handcuffs, Aledda abruptly fired three rounds from his M4 carbine rifle. Although Aledda claimed that he was aiming at Rios, he missed and accidentally shot Kinsey in the leg.

When Aledda shot Kinsey, the unarmed man immediately asked the officer why he shot him in the leg. Aledda reportedly answered, “I don’t know.”

According to Officer Kevin Warren and the other officers at the scene, none of them felt their lives were in danger in the moments before Aledda suddenly opened fire. Shortly after Kinsey was shot, Rios stood up and continued shouting with the toy truck in his hands.

Instead of shooting at Rios again, Aledda stated over the radio, “Be advised, it’s a toy truck.”

Recovering from his physical injury, Kinsey filed a federal lawsuit against Aledda last August for wrongful arrest and use of excessive force. Suffering from mental and emotional trauma, Rios continues to experience night terrors while repeatedly waking up screaming about police and blood.

On Wednesday, Aledda was charged with a felony count of attempted manslaughter and a misdemeanor charge of culpable negligence.

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Andrew Emett is a staff writer for NationofChange. Andrew is a Los Angeles-based reporter exposing political and corporate corruption. His interests include national security, corporate abuse, and holding government officials accountable. Andrew’s work has appeared on Raw Story, Alternet, and many other sites. You can follow him on Twitter @AndrewEmett and on Facebook at Andrew Emett.

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