Responding officer testifies in trial of North Miami cop accused of shooting unarmed therapist

MIAMI (WSVN) - A North Miami Police officer testified against a colleague accused of shooting an unarmed therapist who was trying to help an autistic patient.

The trial of North Miami Police Officer Jonathan Aledda entered its fifth day on Monday.

Prosecutors cross-examined Officer Kevin Warren, who said he was a few feet away from Aledda when he shot and injured behavioral therapist Charles Kinsey on July 18, 2016.

Calls to 911 reported a possibly suicidal man with a silver weapon, leading North Miami officers to respond to the scene.

Cellphone video shows Kinsey lying on the pavement with his hands raised. By his feet, his patient, Arnaldo Soto, sat while holding a shiny object.

Warren was one of the responding officers that day. When asked whether he could tell what the patient was holding in his hand, he replied, “No.”

“Did you have some suspicion as to what it might be?” a prosecutor asked Warren.

“It possibly looked like a gun,” said Warren.

“Did you know it was a gun?” asked the prosecutor.

“No,” said Warren.

“Did you ever tell anyone it was definitely a gun?” asked the prosecutor.

“No,” said Warren.

What Soto was holding turned out to be a toy truck.

Kinsey can be heard in the cellphone video explaining the situation to officers.

“All he has is a toy truck. A toy truck. I am a behavior therapist at a group home,” Kinsey said.

Officials said Aledda fired several times, hitting Kinsey in the leg.

Warren testified he never considered firing his weapon.

“Did you even have your finger on the trigger?” the prosecutor asked.

“No, my finger was off the trigger,” said Warren.

During the cross-examination, prosecutors asked Warren about the type of weapon he had and whether that impacted his decision not to fire.

“How accurate would a handgun be from 150 feet?” asked the prosecutor.

“Not very accurate,” said Warren.

“Is that one reason why you would not have fired?” asked the prosecutor.

“Correct,” said Warren.

The man who recorded the cellphone video also took the stand on Monday.

The witness said Warren made a gesture toward Aledda after he opened fire.

“The other police were, like, complaining to him about something, like with a gesture like this,” he said through a translator.

The witness stood up and reenacted the officer’s gesture for the court, arms outstretched as if reproaching Aledda.

“Gesturing with his hands out in the air suddenly?” a prosecutor asked.

“Yes, exactly,” replied the witness.

Another responding officer, Pinky Joachim, also testified on Monday about what she remembers hearing that day over the radio.

“I heard an officer say, ‘I have a clear shot,'” she said.

“And then what?” asked a prosecutor.

“And then I heard another officer say — I believe it was — QRX, which is the call for wait — ‘It appears to be a toy,'” said Joachim.

“All right, and was the next broadcast that you heard the shots fired?” the prosecutor asked.

“‘Shots fired,'” said Joachim.

Aledda’s trial is scheduled to resume Tuesday at 8:45 a.m.

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