Application for North Miami officer shows misdemeanor arrest, psych review

NORTH MIAMI, FLA. (WSVN) - A 2012 memo from a police department commander has caused concern that the officer centered around the shooting of an unarmed man should not have been hired in the first place.

North Miami Police Officer Jonathan Aledda has been the focus of a controversial police-involved shooting in which he shot unarmed behavioral therapist Charles Kinsey while Kinsey was attempting to calm down his patient with autism, Arnaldo Rios.

Kinsey had his hands in the air at the time, while police believed Rios to have a gun. The gun turned out to be a toy truck. “That’s a character issue, that’s a character flaw,” said Hilton Napoleon, the attorney for Kinsey.

Several years earlier in April of 2012, a young Aledda was in the process of applying to work with the North Miami Police Department. However, a document shows that although Aledda’s application was approved, the then-commander and current assistant chief, Neal Cuevas, asked for Aledda to be removed from the eligibility list.

There were concerns at the time for a 2007 arrest for petty theft. A North Miami Police memo states, “He indicated he took a pack of sports cards from Target… He attended a court appointed course, paid a fine.”

“That’s a big problem. I don’t understand why they would, number one, hire him, or number two, why they would put a person like that who has judgment problems on a SWAT team,” said Napoleon.

The charges were dropped and Aledda was not prosecuted.

There was also concern about a psychological review of Aledda. The review reads: “There was one mild to moderate deficit noted: lack of tolerance: Possible characteristics include judgmental; argumentative; critical; challenging; rigid; stubborn.”

“I can tell you one thing for sure, me and my client don’t think that’s a mild deficit, I think that that’s a serious problem,” Napoleon said.

The majority recommendation was to hire Aledda. The background investigator wrote to the chief at the time, “Mr. Aledda has many desirable attributes that cause him to stand out from other candidates … He received an acceptable rating on his psychological exam with a notation that he is a fast learner.”

Aledda is currently on administrative leave after the shooting. “It seemed to be clear from them — when I say them, I’m talking about the City of North Miami — from the beginning, that he should not have been an officer,” Napoleon said.

The report does say that the only blemish in Aledda’s background was his 2007 arrest. However, it also said that Aledda readily admitted to his lapse in judgment and took full responsibility for what he did.

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