North Miami's top cop said the scene where an officer shot an unarmed caretaker of a man with autism was a "mess" and was critical of his officers' investigation into the shooting of the man, according to audio tapes of the chief's interview with investigators obtained exclusively by NBC 6.
Police Chief Gary Eugene sat down with Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents 10 days after the shooting of Charles Kinsey last July. In his interview he expressed frustration with what happened and indicated that in-fighting within the department was taking a backseat to finding out what really took place when Kinsey was shot.
The day Kinsey was shot, in an incident that was captured on cell phone video, Chief Eugene had only been on the job for six days. Kinsey was on the ground with hands up with the autistic patient when he was shot by Officer Jonathan Aledda.
In the recorded interview, Chief Eugene gave agents an inside look at what happened that day and in the days that followed. He said almost all of the officers at the scene ignored him.
"Nobody came to me to tell me anything which in itself, that’s something," Chief Eugene said. "I was pissed to be honest with you."
But he says one person who did talk to him was Commander Emille Hollant, who was eventually cleared by FDLE of any wrongdoing.
"My question to him was why did he shoot the guy? He said 'chief, to be honest with you, I was in my car, or I went to my car to get a pair of binoculars that I have.' I could not understand the significance of it until later on I find out there was some discrepancy, was it a gun or not gun?" Chief Eugene said.
The chief said he tried to sort through the conflicting reports from supervisors and then listened to the radio transmissions himself.
"At that time I heard the shooter, Officer Aledda, make a statement to the nature of, 'be advised, I have a clear shot of the subject,'" Chief Eugene said. "The sergeant got on the air and said 'I have a visual. It is a toy. It is a toy - QRX.' QRX mean stand by, Don’t do anything.
"The next transmission by Commander Hollant was 'shot fired!' And I heard him exactly the sergeant advice earlier it was a toy, say 'hold fire, hold fire! It is toy' trying to stop whomever was doing the shooting."
Chief Eugene said the cell phone video disturbed him and he was concerned about how the investigation at the scene was handled.
"My experience, clearly the scene was a mess, to be honest with you. People walking all over the place. Thank God the gentleman did not die," Chief Eugene told the investigators.
And the Chief said he felt the investigation into the shooting appeared to be designed to protect the officer.
"They were more concerned about clearing the officer of any wrongdoing than actually conducting an impartial investigation," he said.
The chief said he even considered resigning.
Commander Hollant, who was cleared by the FDLE, wants his job back but is still on paid leave.
Officer Aledda is on paid leave too. He's being sued in federal court by Kinsey, and has denied doing anything wrong in court documents.
Both the Miami-Dade State Attorney and the City of North Miami are continuing their investigation into why Kinsey was shot. The state attorney said their investigation will be completed soon.