PD Names Officers in |North Miami Shooting

     (CN) — Many questions linger as to why North Miami police shot Charles Kinsey, an African-American mental health care worker, on Monday. But at a news conference, North Miami City Manager Larry Spring answered a big one.
     The officer who shot Kinsey is John Aledda, Spring announced at the North Miami Police Department Headquarters. “He is member of the SWAT team and has been employed with the department for four years,” Spring said.
     In addition, Spring continued, North Miami Police Commander Emile Hollant has been placed on administrative leave without pay for giving conflicting statements about the incident to investigators. “This will not be tolerated,” Spring said.
     The conference was an attempt by community leaders and police to reassure the public that investigations into the incident, which was partially caught on video, will bring justice.
     But that’s a tall order in a climate of heightened racial tension and outrage over recent police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana, coupled with lethal attacks on police in Texas and Louisiana.
     The relevance of the North Miami shooting to the national conversation has remained somewhat unclear, mainly because the intentions of the involved officers have proven elusive.
     In a cellphone video taken by a bystander and aired Wednesday on WSVN 7News, Kinsey can be seen lying on his back with his hands up, beside an autistic patient who escaped from a nearby facility.
     According to police, the officers on the scene had received information that a suicidal man with a gun was in the area, and they mistook a toy truck in the autistic man’s hand for a gun.
     In the video, Kinsey can be heard trying to explain the situation. “All he has is a toy truck — a toy truck,” he says. “I am a behavior therapist at a group home.”
     Although the video didn’t catch it, moments later an officer fired three shots.
     One struck Kinsey in the leg.
     He told WSVN the shooting came as a shock and felt like a mosquito bite.
     “As long as I’ve got my hands up, they’re not gonna shoot me, that’s what I was thinking,” Kinsey said. “Wow, was I wrong.”
     Dade Police Benevolent Association President John Rivera attempted to explain Aledda’s actions at a press conference on Wednesday, stating that the shooting was an accident and that the officer feared for Kinsey’s life. He had intended to hit the autistic “white” man, Rivera said. What he couldn’t explain was how after the shooting, officers placed Kinsey in facedown in handcuffs for 20 minutes while he bled.
     “We don’t know the answers to all the questions,” he said in a phone interview with Courthouse News Service. “We welcome an investigation … we just hope that everybody deals with facts, not sensationalism.”
     Kinsey’s attorney Hilton Napolean couldn’t be reached for comment. But he told the Miami Herald he doesn’t believe that a trained member of the SWAT team accidentally shot the wrong guy.
     “I don’t understand if he’s aiming at the autistic kid, how he could miss,” Napoleon told the Herald. “He had plenty of time to tell my client to move.”
     At the request of the North Miami Police Department, Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is investigating the shooting. “FDLE’s role is to investigate potential criminality by the law enforcement officers,” an FDLE spokeswoman said in a statement. “We will determine the facts of the case and provide that information to the State Attorney’s Office, 11th Judicial Circuit. The State Attorney’s Office will determine whether or not charges will be filed.”
     Kinsey has reportedly left the hospital and is in stable condition.
     North Miami city officials announced today that the personnel files of the involved officers would be posted on the North Miami Police Department website and that anyone with information, comments or suggestions should call (305) 902-6745.

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