In an attempt to calm a public already irate over what appears on video to be a blatantly unjustified attack on a black man, a union official has claimed that North Miami police officer Jonathan Aledda, a four-year department veteran and a member of the SWAT team, ‘accidentally’ shot an unarmed African-American behavioral therapist trying to help a disoriented autistic patient who had wandered away from a group home.
According to John Rivera, president of the Dade County Police Benevolent Association, 30-year-old Aledda intended to shoot 23-year-old Rinaldo, whom he thought posed a danger to the therapist’s life with his toy, but inadvertently shot 47-year-old Charles Kinsey, who was lying in the street with his arms in the air. Apparently, Aledda ‘mistakenly’ shot Kinsey thrice despite Kinsey yelling that his autistic patient had a toy truck in his hand and that there was no need for guns.
Insisting that the video evidence of the incident was “being portrayed poorly,” Rivera told reporters:
“This wasn’t a mistake in the sense that the officer shot the wrong guy or he thought that Kinsey was the bad guy. The movement of the white individual made it look like he was going to discharge a fire arm into Mr. Kinsey and the officer discharged trying to strike and stop the white man and unfortunately, he missed the white male and shot Mr. Kinsey by accident. Mr. Kinsey did everything right, let’s be real clear about that.”
Although the police union chief claims that Kinsey wasn’t the target of the unintentional shooting, no explanation has been given for accidentally handcuffing Kinsey and leaving him on the road with a wounded leg for about 20 minutes after the shooting. Rivera, however, had something else to give — a warning:
“Many officers thought the white male had a firearm. Only much later, when we’re able to Monday morning quarterback, do we find out that it’s a toy. Only much later do we find out that the individual was autistic. The officers on the scene did not know that. This is not a case of a rogue cop. This is not a case of police abuse. This is a case where a police officer was trying to save Mr. Kinsey’s life, and unfortunately, his shot went astray.
“Sometimes police officers make mistakes. They are not computers. They are not robots. They are God’s creation. Be responsible in your reporting. We’re asking the community to please allow facts — not sensationalism, not politics — facts to allow to work their way through the system.”
Meanwhile, a baffled Kinsey, who has been recuperating in a local hospital, shared his ordeal with WSVN-Channel 7. Unsurprisingly, Kinsey’s recollection of the incident suggested that the police explanation doesn’t add up.
“I was really more worried about him than myself. I was thinking as long as I have my hands up, they’re not going to shoot me. This is what I’m thinking; they’re not going to shoot me. Wow, was I wrong.
“I am asking the officer, I said, ‘sir, please don’t shoot me. Please, do not shoot me’. I’m like this right here, and when he shot me, it was so surprising. It was like a mosquito bite, and when it hit me, I’m like, I still got my hands in the air, and I said, ‘No’, I just got shot! And I’m saying to them, ‘Sir, why did you shoot me?’ and his words to me, he said, ‘I don’t know’.
“They flipped me over, and I’m faced down on the ground, with cuffs on, waiting on the rescue squad to come. I’d say about 20 minutes it took the rescue squad to get there. And I was bleeding — I mean bleeding — and I was like, Wow.”
Kinsey’s attorney, Hilton Napoleon II, is also not keen on buying the police union chief’s explanation.
“I don’t understand if he’s aiming at the autistic kid, how he could miss. He had plenty of time to tell my client to move. If police were trying to save Kinsey’s life, why did they rolled him over and handcuffed him as he was bleeding from a bullet wound to his leg?”
However, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting to “assure transparency and objectivity in a very sensitive matter.” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said:
“They will provide us with their factual findings and conclusions. At that time, we will conduct our own investigation and review all of the evidence to determine whether the actions of the shooting officer constitute a criminal act that can be proven beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt.”
Promising a transparent investigation, North Miami Police Chief Gary Eugene assured that Aledda could face charges if his actions are deemed criminal [as of now Aledda has been placed on administrative leave].
“You have questions, the community has questions, we as a city, we as a member of this police department and I also have questions. I assure you we will get all the answers.”
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