No Charges for North Miami Cop Who Gave Conflicting Statements in Charles Kinsey Shooting

By Kenrya Rankin Aug 05, 2016

Last month, North Miami police officer Jonathan Aledda shot Charles Kinsey, an unarmed, Black behavioral specialist who was attempting to coax his 23-year-old autistic patient out of the street. Bystander video showed that Kinsey laid on the ground with his hands up when officers arrived, but was still shot and restrained. The patient, Arnaldo Eliud Rio, played with a toy truck nearby. A 911 caller reportedly told the dispatcher that Rio had something that might not be gun up to his head, and that the appeared to be mentally ill.

According to the local NBC affiliate, Aledda’s superior, Commander Emile Hollant, allegedly provided conflicting statements regarding the July 18 shooting. Specifically, it was reported that Hollant told investigators and staff officers that he did not witness the shooting, but they concluded that he was actually a witness. He was subsequently suspended without pay

But an investigation conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement found that there was not enough evidence to charge him with the proposed first degree misdemeanor obstruction of a law enforcement officer engaged in a lawful investigation. The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Public Corruption Unit released a memo yesterday (August 4), clearing him of charges. From the memo:

Commander Hollant explained that he as the uniform patrol supervisor on the afternoon shift on July 18, 2016. He was indeed present at the scene of the police shooting and engages to some degree in the incidents that led up to the shooting and those that followed. However, he had returned to his police vehicle, or a city block from the location of the victim’s shooting, to retrieve his binoculars when he heard gunshots. The gunshots were subsequently determined to have been fired by Officer Aledda.

Commander Hollant was thus, not physically present when Officer Aledda fired his weapon, nor did he witness the actual shooting. Commander Hollant continued by advising prosecutors that when he told members of his department that Hollant was not a witness, he meant that he did not observe the shooting itself, not that he was not present and engages in the incidents precedent or subsequent to the shooting.

We conclude that Commander Hollant did not lie, and that there was no intent by Commander Hollant to mislead or obstruct investigators or command staff officers regarding his involvement in the police shooting. He was present at the immediate see before the shooting and after, and his involvement in captures to some degree in police radio transmissions. At best, the allegation that he provided inconsistent statements to investigators or command staff officers appears to have been the result of simple miscommunication.

Meanwhile, the Miami Herald reports that Kinsey filed a federal lawsuit against the North Miami Police Department and the officer who shot him:

In the lawsuit, Kinsey argues that Aledda and other officers wrongfully arrested him and used excessive force—saying that Aledda did not help stop the bleeding after the shooting, even after officers recognized there was no weapon at the scene. They are demanding a jury trial, unstated monetary damages and any other fees due to the physical, emotional and mental pain the incident caused….

“All officers, including Officer Aledda, were close enough in proximity to hear Mr. Kinsey’s statements, and one officer even announced over the police radio, ‘It’s a toy truck, he’s saying it’s a toy truck,’” the complaint reads.

That has also been supported through a 911 call, from that June 18 afternoon, in which a woman describes Kinsey and Rios, indicates that Rios might be mentally ill and later states that the object she saw might not be a gun. Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association president John Rivera stated at a press conference that Aledda was aiming at Rios, not Kinsey, because the 911 call indicated that he had a weapon.

Aledda is currently on paid administrative leave. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is conducting the investigation into the shooting. To date, no decision has been released.