North Miami officer who shot unarmed man identified; 2nd officer suspended

NORTH MIAMI, FLA. (WSVN) - The city manager for North Miami has identified the police officer who shot an unarmed man on Monday and also noted that his commanding officer has been placed on unpaid administrative leave.

The North Miami Police officer has been identified as 30-year-old Jonathan Aledda.

North Miami City Manager Larry M. Spring made the announcement at a news conference, at North Miami Police Department headquarters, just after 2 p.m., Friday.

“He [Aledda] is a member of our SWAT team, and has been employed with the department for four years,” Spring said. “The officer is represented by the PBA.”

In addition, Spring announced a second officer was placed on administrative leave without pay. This second officer is North Miami Police Commander Emile Hollant.

“Commander Emile Hollant was placed on leave after evidence of conflicting statements given to the investigators of this specific case,” said Spring. “This will not be tolerated.”

Friday afternoon, 7News obtained the radio transmissions recorded between the North Miami Police officers on the scene of Monday’s shooting.

Sources said the commander, Hollant, went on the radio saying the man with autism was loading a weapon, which was the reason why Officer Aledda fired.

Unidentified female officer: “He has something in his hands. All units be cautioned, he has something in his hands.”

Unidentified female officer: “Verify that it looks like he is loading up his gun?”

Commander Hollant: “He is loading up his weapon.”

Unidentified female officer: “All units, use caution, the subject is now holding up his weapon.”

Unidentified male officer: “Units to the south, look out for crossfire.”

However, minutes later, someone said over the radio that the weapon was actually a toy.

Unidentified male officer: “The person advised that it is a toy. It is a toy car.”

According to 7News sources, there are a lot of angry police officers in Miami, Friday, because they believe Officer Aledda is being wrongly punished. These police officers believe the shooting is the fault of Commander Hollant who wrongly said the man with autism was loading a gun.

City leaders spoke with the media Friday afternoon.

North Miami Councilman Scott Galvin said, “Totally violated his trust from the public to protect and serve. By giving misinformation to this department, he not only jeopardized Mr. Kinsey’s life and the life of his client, but he jeopardized the life of every police officer who serves this city.”

North Miami Mayor Smith Joseph opened up the news conference with a few words for the City of North Miami prior to the announcement. “The City of North Miami is transparent, and we are a responsible government,” said Joseph. “And as your mayor, I represent you, the people, and I will speak for you where you cannot go, be it in public and behind closed doors. However, I will always do that in a responsible way. Finally, I assure you that justice will be served.”

North Miami city clerk Michael Etienne assured the public that justice will be served. “But understand this: an officer who betrays the trust of any residents of any community – they must be shamed, removed, fired, and of course, completely, completely lose their right to ever wear an officer’s uniform again.”

Earlier in the afternoon, demonstrators outraged by the incident crowded the police department. What began outside the police department moved into the lobby, where protesters brought their passion, frustration and questions directly to North Miami Police Department headquarters.

These people, along with thousands around the country, are outraged about what happened to Charles Kinsey, a behavioral specialist who said he was trying to help one of his patients, who has autism, when he was shot by Aledda.

While Kinsey was released from Jackson Memorial Hospital, Thursday night, and will be able to begin to recover from his physical injuries, millions of people have seen the video, which depicts what happened to Kinsey and his autistic patient moments before he was suddenly shot in the leg.

The video, which thousands of people saw first on 7News, showed Kinsey lying on his back in the middle of a street with his arms raised, directly beside his patient, who was sitting down. According to Kinsey, he was trying to help his patient when police said they received reports of a suicidal man with a gun. Instead, the man with autism was merely holding a toy truck.

Moments later, an officer opened fire, hitting Kinsey in the leg while his hands were still up, according to Kinsey. “When he shot me, it was so surprising. It was like a mosquito bite,” he said in an exclusive interview with 7News, from his hospital bed, Wednesday.

In a statement written by the officer who shot Kinsey, the officer said, “I took this job to save the lives and help people. I did what I had to do in a split second to accomplish that and hate to hear others paint me as something I’m not.”

And while the story continued to gather more national attention, Miami-Dade County Police Benevolent Association President John Rivera attempted to shed new light on the situation, Thursday, at a news conference. “This is the case where a police officer was trying to save Mr. Kinsey’s life, and unfortunately his shot went astray.”

Rivera said the North Miami Police officer was aiming for the patient out of fear that he had a gun and was planning to hurt Kinsey but missed and shot Kinsey, instead.

This new detail only enhanced the national uproar. Kinsey’s employer Clint Bower called this claim “outrageous,” and praised Kinsey for his work at the group home.

“This individual, he was caring for a person with some significant behavioral issues, and Charles was specifically chosen to work with this individual as his one-on-one staff because he’s that much of a skilled employee,” said Bower in an interview with 7News. “He’s received extensive crisis intervention training. Unfortunately, our police department doesn’t seem to receive that same training. Charles is a hero to us here at MacTown and to all the community here in Miami.”

New information about Aledda’s record has come to light, Friday night. According to officials, he has received several commendations during his time on the force, and this isn’t the first time he’s been under investigation.

Aledda was exonerated in 2013 after being accused of officer misconduct.

Bower said he doesn’t feel like enough focus is on his client, the man who has autism. “I’m upset that the mayor, the city manager, no one expressed any concern about how he is and how the police dealt with a person of disability,” he said.

FDLE has taken over the investigation while Kinsey’s attorney, Hilton Napoleon, told 7News the city has already reached out about a cash settlement. “They want to resolve it relatively fast and in a manner of good faith.”

Though the police officer who fired the shot has been placed on administrative leave, activists are asking for more.

“We want the officer fired, charged, convicted,” said a demonstrator outside of the North Miami Police department.

7News sources inside the North Miami Police Department said that many officers are upset with the outcome, as they describe Aledda as a good officer. They blame the commanding officer due to what he is heard saying on the radio transmissions.

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