MIAMI (WSVN) - A jury was unable to reach a verdict on the attempted manslaughter charge against a North Miami Police officer accused of shooting an unarmed behavioral therapist trying to protect his autistic patient but decided he was not guilty on his other charge.
In Friday afternoon’s decision, the jury found North Miami Police Officer Jonathan Aledda not guilty of culpable negligence in the July 18, 2016 shooting of Charles Kinsey.
However, the jury was unable to reach a verdict on his attempted manslaughter counts.
Calls to 911 reported a possibly suicidal man with a silver weapon, leading North Miami officers to respond to the scene.
Cellphone video showed Kinsey lying on the pavement with his hands raised.
By his feet, his patient, Arnaldo Rios Soto, sat while holding a shiny object that turned out to be a toy truck.
Investigators said Aledda opened fire, hitting Kinsey in the leg.
That footage led the case to gain national attention.
During the trial Aledda testified that he fired his weapon to protect Kinsey, fearing Soto was pointing a gun at him.
Following Friday’s decision, attorneys on both sides said they will take the next two weeks to decide their next steps.
“I think [Aledda] is disappointed. He was hoping to be acquitted,” said defense attorney Douglas Hartman. “You know, go home to his wife and baby.”
“I’m going to be discussing this with the state attorney,” said Chief Assistant State Attorney Don Horn. “We’ve got a report date in about a week and a half. Then we’ll have a decision at that time.”
Meanwhile, Rios Soto’s family said this whole scenario could have been avoided if Aledda had better training.
“He was rocking back and forth. He was playing with a toy, and those are typical autism behaviors that [Aledda] didn’t recognize because he didn’t have any training,” said Matthew Dietz, the family’s attorney, “so had he understood that’s what a person with autism does, this wouldn’t have happened.”
As to whether or not Aledda will be retired, that will be decided at a hearing scheduled for March 27.
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