Charles Kinsey's shooting went viral last year thanks to shaky cell-phone footage that showed the unarmed behavioral technician with his arms in the air, begging police not to fire just before a North Miami cop shot him.
But there's also a second, so far publicly unseen video of the moment when North Miami Police Officer Jonathan Aledda fired at Kinsey and an autistic patient holding a toy truck. And Chief Gary Eugene says the clip clearly shows the cops who trained their guns on Kinsey.
"It’s not the tape you saw on the news, where the guy’s screaming," Eugene told Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) investigators in an audio recording obtained by New Times Tuesday.
He added seconds later: "But with the evidence, I decided, I don't like what I'm seeing."
Eugene said the clip showed the actual officers who cornered Kinsey while he attempted to help Armando Rios Soto, an autistic man holding a toy last July 18. Cops claimed they thought Rios was holding a gun. But as New Times reported yesterday, in his interview with FDLE, Eugene said another cop on the scene shouted, "It's a toy!" over the police radio and told the other cops to "stand down" before SWAT's
In a previous cell-phone clip that was provided to the media, Kinsey was seen on tape lying on his back, repeatedly telling police that Rios was holding only a toy. Rios sat cross-legged next to him. Though the video did not show the moment Aledda shot Kinsey, the footage does show the cops handcuffing an injured Kinsey as he lay on the ground.
In his FDLE interview, the chief said the second, unseen video was clear enough to show one cop, a rookie, resting with his finger off the trigger of his weapon. That cop was not the officer who shot Kinsey.
"It's was video taken pulled back from the second floor of an apartment," Eugene said. "Because you could clearly see the officer leaning in the engine area, and the rookie officer, I was telling you, the black male, it was so clear you could see his finger outside trigger, behind a bush. You can see the black male [Kinsey] on his back with both hands in the air."
The news raises further questions about the controversial Kinsey shooting, which became a flashpoint in the anti-police-brutality movement sweeping the nation. Who filmed the video clip? And why or how did the footage not make its way to the media in the eight months since Kinsey was shot?
Eugene did not respond to a call from New Times this afternoon.
Yesterday New Times reported that Eugene painted a damning portrait of the officers involved in the Kinsey shooting. In addition to Eugene's statement that the cops noticed Rios was holding a toy (and not a gun), Eugene divulged a litany of upsetting facts about the way the case was handled.
"I heard the shooter, Officer Aledda, make a statement to the nature of 'Be advised, I have clear shot [of] subject,'" Eugene said, describing the audio of the police radio just before the shooting. "Later on, a sergeant... got on the air and said, 'I have a visual; it is a toy. Is it a toy? QRX.' That means 'Stand by; don't do anything.' Then there is a conversation back and forth. The next transmission was by [another officer saying] 'Shot fired!'"
Among other revelations, the chief said that then-Assistant Chief Larry Juriga lied to him in order to frame a police commander, Emile Hollant, whom Juriga disliked. The chief then told investigators that when he discovered Juriga had lied, City Manager Larry Spring pressured the chief to suspend the innocent Hollant anyway. Eugene then said he "came close" to quitting his job that day; he'd been chief for less than a week. (Spring, through a spokesperson, declined to comment last night.) Eugene also told investigators that a SWAT commander who also oversaw the unit that shot Kinsey was upset that Hollant did not lie to investigators to cover for Aledda.
FDLE closed its investigation into the case in December. The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office has had FDLE's full case file, including Eugene's interview, since then. State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, who has not charged an on-duty cop for a shooting incident during her 24 years in office, cleared Hollant of wrongdoing August 2.
She has not decided yet whether to charge Aledda, but her spokesman, Ed Griffith, told New Times last night that the office is "very close to coming to a decision."
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The second video, if it's as clear as Eugene describes it, will surely play a significant role in Rundle's final decision.
In the meantime, here's a clip of Kinsey describing his version of the events on the Oprah Winfrey Network: