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Negligence Conviction Tossed For Former South Florida Cop Who ‘Accidentally’ Shot a Black Caretaker In 2016


Negligence Conviction Tossed For Former South Florida Cop Who ‘Accidentally’ Shot a Black Caretaker In 2016

MIAMI — An appeals court ordered a new trial on Wednesday for a former Florida police officer who was sentenced to probation for shooting at a severely autistic man and wounding the man’s caretaker.

A three-judge panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled that a South Florida circuit judge was wrong to prevent a police official from testifying about training former North Miami officer Jonathan Aledda received related to hostage rescues.

Aledda was convicted of misdemeanor culpable negligence in 2019, though jurors acquitted him of more serious attempted manslaughter charges. Aledda was sentenced to 100 hours of community service and ordered to write an essay on communication and weapons discharges.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement that the court’s decision was disappointing to all who believe the shooting was unnecessary and incorrect, and prosecutors plan to seek a rehearing.

In 2016, Charles Kinsey was shot and wounded while trying to aid Arnaldo Rios Soto, officials said. Rios, who is autistic, fled his group home carrying a shiny silver toy truck and Kinsey went after him. Rios sat down in the street, playing with the truck, and a passer-by reported he was possibly armed. Police soon surrounded Rios and Kinsey at a residential neighborhood intersection.

Video taken by a bystander showed Rios sitting with the truck. Kinsey lay on his back next to him with his hands in the air, begging officers not to shoot. Rios shouted, “Shut up.” The video ended before the shooting.

Aledda, armed with a rifle, took cover behind a car 50 yards (45 meters) away. Two officers who were closer to Kinsey and Rios said they could tell the silver object was a toy, but a commander radioed that it appeared Rios was reloading.

Aledda fired three shots at Rios. Two missed but one hit Kinsey in the leg. Aledda testified during the trial that he thought it was a hostage situation, and he needed to fire to protect Kinsey and his fellow officers.

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