Charles Kinsey was a 47-year-old mental health worker at a group home for mentally disabled adults. He was involved in community efforts to keep local kids in school, and is the father of five children. He had been a member of the local “Circle of Brotherhood” group whose mission is “Serving and Protecting our Community”.
July 18, 2016, around 5:00 a 27-year-old male non-verbal patient, Arnaldo Rios Soto, took a toy truck and ran away from his group home. The patient had severe autism and an IQ of 40 and troubled and upset. Charles had caught up with him and was trying to de-escalate him and bring him back to the facility when the police showed up responding to a possibly suicidal man call. A motorist passing by had called 911 to report a man with a possible gun pointing to his head.
While Kinsey was trying to negotiate between officers and his patient, when he was shot by officer Johnathan Aledda, one of 6 officers responding to a suicidal man call. Thinking he would not be shot if Kinsey lay down and put his hands up in the air in clear view, Kinsey laid down and began explain what was happening.
Video footage shows: Kinsey placing his hands in the air and trying to inform cops of his Rios’ mental disability. He can be heard telling officers he has no weapon, and that the other man is autistic and has a toy truck. He can be heard identifying himself and the patient; he can also be heard begging Rios to lay down on his stomach and to listen to the officers. the patient did not comply but sits there with his toy truck.
One officer, about 15-20 feet away, heard Kinsey yelling and said over the radio to “use caution” because “the person advised that it’s a toy.” A minute later, at least 30 seconds before shots were fired, that officer said over the radio to the other police officers at the scene that he had a visual, and that the item did not appear to him to be a firearm.
Officer Johnathan Aledda fired three shots on the scene anyway, piercing Kinsey’s upper thigh. After the shooting, Aledda was asked repeatedly why he shot Kinsey and responded that he did not know. Later he would testify that he thought Rios was holding Kinsey hostage and had intended to hit Rios. Aledda maintained he mistook the toy for a firearm even though officers at the trial testified that radio communication had clarified that it was not.
After the shooting, despite knowing the situation, Kinsey was handcuffed and left bleeding on the sidewalk for 20 minutes. They did nothing to stop Kinsey’s bleeding before an ambulance arrived. A second video shows officers carrying rifles and patting down Kinsey and his patient while they lie on the ground.
Arnaldo Rios, also sat handcuffed on the ground for 20 minutes and then placed in the back of a patrol car for about two more hours. A bystander near the cruiser reported hearing “animalistic sounds and screeching noises” coming from inside. He was then taken to the North Miami police station still handcuffed for another four minutes while an officer interrogated him. A non-verbal autistic male with an IQ of 40 was interrogated without his family present.
A video obtained by the Miami Herald shows a clearly confused Rios answering “yes” to almost every question.
After Kinsey was released from the hospital he reunited with his patient, Arnaldo Rios. Rios remained hospitalized as a result of emotional trauma caused by the shooting, but Kinsey says: “He is looking well. He is doing really well, and he was very happy to see me. He gave me a real big hug, and I sat with him for about 10 to 15 minutes.”
The Aftermath: Police Chief Gary Eugene said that his department was disorganized, plagued by infighting, and unable to handle basic things like securing the crime-scene after Kinsey was shot. He also claimed that cops tried to force a commander to lie to protect Aledda, and had attempted to frame a fellow commander, Emile Hollant, by pretending he’d lied to chief about what he’d witnessed.
City Councilman Scott Galvin confirmed that Eugene has been placed on administrative leave and will be fired in three weeks. Eugene confirmed that City Manager Larry Spring had asked him to step down, but did not offer any more details.
August 3, 2016, Kinsey filed a federal lawsuit against Aledda, claiming that he had violated his civil rights, used excessive force and falsely arrested him.
April 12, 2017 Aledda is arrested for attempted manslaughter and negligence.
June 15, 2017 Rios’ family filed a lawsuit against Miami on his behalf alleging the police falsely imprisoned him and intentionally inflicted pain and suffering on him.
June 19, 2019: Aledda has been found guilty of culpable negligence but not guilty of two counts of attempted manslaughter. He was not sentenced to prison, and was instead sentenced to one year of administrative probation, 100 hours of community service and to write a 2,500-word essay on communication and weapon discharges.
Aledda’s conviction does not appear on a criminal record he and only served five months of probation.
Mr. Kinsey now walks with a cane and prominent limp. He suffers from PTSD from the incident.