North Miami Police Officer Identified, Commander Suspended After Shooting

He is a four-year veteran and a member of the city's SWAT team

A North Miami police commander has been suspended for allegedly fabricating information about the shooting of an unarmed black therapist.

City Manager Larry Spring Jr. said Friday that commander Emile Hollant is suspended without pay. Spring declined to give specifics about how Hollant allegedly fabricated information about Monday's shooting of Charles Kinsey by Officer Jonathan Aledda.

"He totally violated his trust from the public to protect and serve by giving misinformation to this department," North Miami Councilman Scott Galvin said at Friday's news conference. "He not only jeopardized Mr. Kinsey's life and the life of his client but he jeopardized the life of every police officer who serves this city."

Hilton Napoleon, Kinsey's attorney, said he was disturbed by Friday's development.

"The fact that they were trying to cover this up initially is a huge problem," Napoleon said.

Aledda has been placed on paid administrative leave while the shooting is investigated. He is a four-year veteran and a member of the city's SWAT team.

Aledda's personnel file shows he has received outstanding annual evaluations from his bosses during his four years with the department and several commendations for his actions in the field, including his arrest of two robbery suspects in September 2014. He was named the city's police officer of the month that October.

Only one complaint is in his file. A shop owner said Aledda shoved him against the wall and arrested him after other officers wrongly identified him as a robbery suspect. Aledda was cleared by internal affairs investigators who said he used reasonable force given the information he had.

Kinsey was trying coax an autistic man back to a group home when he was shot in the middle of an intersection. He says he was on the ground with his hands in the air when he was shot. Cellphone video shows him with his hands raised moments before the shooting.

The man who shot the video called Kinsey a hero Friday.

"He's a hero, if it wasn't for him that autistic kid probably wouldn't be breathing today," Sivano Hernandez said. 

Police said officers responded to the scene after they received a 911 call of an armed man threatening suicide.

A union official has said the officer was aiming for the autistic man because he thought he was a threat, but the officer missed and hit the therapist.

The State Attorney's office is investigating.

Hernandez said he thinks it was all a mistake.

"They're a great department and they do their jobs, I just believe what happened was a mistake and due to everything happening in society unfortunately someone wearing a badge who makes a mistake now, it's magnified," Hernandez said.

Kinsey was released from the hospital Thursday. The family of the autistic man, Arnaldo Rios, has hired an attorney and is expected to speak Saturday.

The shooting remains under investigation.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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