Teresa Joseph

North Miami Police Chief Placed on Leave

North Miami's police chief was placed on paid administrative leave Thursday, a day after it was learned that a police commander who was at the scene of the officer-involved shooting of an unarmed behavioral therapist would be losing his job, city officials said.

Chief Gary Eugene returned to work Thursday after being on medical leave for some time and was immediately placed on leave again, NBC 6 has learned. The chief will remain on leave until July 6  allowing him the opportunity to voluntarily resign. If he does not sign a "separation agreement and general release" form, Chief Eugene will be terminated on July 7, according to a memo obtained by NBC 6.

"Today, I asked the Chief, actually put him on administrative leave, pending some additional personal matter with him right now," said North Miami City Manager Larry Spring, Jr.

City officials have yet to confirm that Chief Eugene being placed on leave is related to the Charles Kinsey shooting.

"Obviously, our first concern is justice for Mr. Rios and Mr. Kinsey and that's my priority. Getting to the bottom of everything that's going on," Councilman Scott Galvin said Thursday. "Residents can feel very comfortable that we are going to be absolutely transparent in getting to the bottom of developments."

The chief has not responded to NBC 6's request for comment on the City's move.

The news comes a day after Commander Emile Hollant was notified by the city that he would be losing his job. Hollant was the commander at the scene of the July 2016 shooting of Kinsey, a behavioral therapist who was shot in the leg by police as he lay on the ground next to his autistic patient.

The firing of Hollant followed an Internal Affairs investigation that revealed Hollant lied to detectives and Chief Eugene about witnessing the shooting, according to a memo released Wednesday. 

Investigators said Hollant was at the scene before, during and after Officer Jonathan Aledda shot Kinsey as he lay on the street with his arms in the air. Kinsey was lying next to his autistic patient Arnaldo Rios Soto, who was playing with a silver toy truck. Both Kinsey and Soto were unarmed.

Aledda pleaded not guilty to attempted manslaughter charges.

NBC 6 exclusively obtained the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's audio interview with Chief Eugene about the Kinsey shooting. In it, the chief was highly critical of the way the crime scene was handled.

Check back with NBC 6 for updates on this developing story.

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