| Police |

Lawyer Says North Miami Cop Who Shot Charles Kinsey Acted "How Any Reasonable Officer Would Have Acted"

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

When behavior technician Charles Kinsey was shot by a North Miami Police officer while trying to help an autistic client this past July, the outrage was pretty much universal.

A witness released video of Kinsey lying flat on his back with his hands in the air, and dozens of horrified callers told the police department to "get your damn act together." Even pro-police websites such as Blue Lives Matter, which has defended the officers who shot Michael Brown, Alton Sterling, and Philando Castile, said that Officer Jonathan Aledda failed to properly assess the situation and that Kinsey should never have been shot.

But in a recent court filing, attorneys for Aledda say the actions of the North Miami cop were "consistent with how any reasonable officer would have acted under the circumstances in question." Though not explicitly doubling down on the story that the officer was actually aiming for the autistic patient, their response indicates that Aledda was somehow acting in Kinsey's defense.

"When it's all said and done, I think we'll get a very different picture of what transpired," Aledda's attorney, Robert Switkes, tells New Times.

Aledda's response comes several weeks after Kinsey first filed a federal lawsuit against the cop for excessive force and false arrest. Kinsey's attorney, Hilton Napoleon, says the case is "the most factually egregious" he's seen yet in an alarming trend of police-involved shootings of young black men.

"No unbiased person can look at that video and say it's justified," Napoleon says. "You had a guy lying on the ground with his hands in the air. It doesn't get any clearer than that."

The officer's 20-page response, filed last Friday, oddly fails to concede basic details of the case, such as Kinsey's Florida citizenship and his employment status as a behavior technician, with Aledda "demand[ing] strict proof thereof." But the officer does agree that Kinsey's hands "were raised in the air," an admission Napoleon says surprised him.

Aledda has denied hearing Kinsey identify himself as a behavior tech at the group home and shout that his patient had a toy truck, not a gun, despite clear evidence of Kinsey saying those things in the witness' video.

"At a scene with a number of officers and departments responding, things happen, and the fact that certain things are said by an individual doesn’t mean that everybody was in earshot of those things," Switkes says.

The shooting remains under review by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the U.S. Department of Justice recently announced it is investigating whether the officer violated the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.