North Miami police officer charged in July 2016 shooting of caretaker of man with autism

Officer Jonathan Aledda has been charged with attempted manslaughter.

ByABC News
April 12, 2017, 3:21 PM

— -- 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 Wednesday, 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 a press release from the state attorney's office.

The man described in the call was a resident of the Miami Achievement Center for the Developmentally Disabled, according to the release. After the resident left the center, Kinsey closely followed him in "an attempt to return him from the street back into the facility," the release reads. The man was holding a silver toy tanker truck 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 he fired.

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

A video of the incident before Aledda fired shows the man with autism sitting on the ground and, lying next to him, Kinsey holding his arms in the air.

PHOTO: Charlie Kinsey, 47, was shot by police in North Miami, Florida on July 18, 2016. Kinsey's attorney released video of the incident.
Charlie Kinsey, 47, was shot by police in North Miami, Fla. on July 18, 2016. Kinsey's attorney released video of the incident.

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. He remained on paid administrative leave when the charges were announced Wednesday, his attorney Robert Switkes told ABC News.

Switkes, who is representing Aledda in a civil rights lawsuit filed against him by Kinsey in the Southern District of Florida, told ABC News that it is "totally inappropriate to bring any charges against the officer."

Switkes added that he will not be representing Aledda in the criminal case and that he is "fully confident" Aledda will be exonerated after "all the evidence and the facts are presented."

Kinsey's attorney, Hilton Napoleon, declined to comment on the charges or the lawsuit, citing the pending litigation.

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, the 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," with "endless situations" in which someone is possibly brandishing a weapon and could pose "a threat to many people around them."

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

It is unclear whether Aledda has entered a plea in response to the charges against him.

ABC News' Jason Volack, Seni Tienabeso and Emily Shapiro contributed to this report.