A new perspective to a high-profile police-involved shooting in North Miami emerged Tuesday as NBC 6 exclusively obtained internal video of the interview between the officers involved and state law enforcement agents.
The shooting sparked outrage in July 2016 after Charles Kinsey, a behavioral therapist, was shot in the leg by police as he lay on the ground next to his autistic patient.
Officer Jonathan Aledda was charged with several counts of attempted manslaughter and culpable negligence.
Sgt. Milton Reid described to investigators what happened the moments shots were fired.
“That’s when I heard boom, boom, boom. At that point, I didn’t know if that was us. They had shot. I am looking at the two people and just trying to figure out what the hell happened,” Reid recalled.
The NBC 6 investigators also obtained an image of Aledda seen crouching behind a black Toyota. The officer’s rifle was aimed in the direction of Kinsey and his patient Arnaldo Rios Soto. Prosecutors say Aledda fired the shell casings that fell near the vehicle.
An initial call to 911 indicated the autistic man was holding a weapon but Officer Alens Bernadeau was one of the officers who got closest to him. He announced the gun appeared to be a toy.
“I did get on the air and advised. I said ‘I am advising units that there is a subject with him’ and he is advising that the gentleman has a toy car. I am not sure if I said a toy car; I did advise a toy,” Bernadeau tells investigators in the video.
Officer Kevin Crespo was the other patrolman who had the best view, according to police interviews.
Agent: “Did you hear anybody say that it was a toy in his hand?” “I believe Officer Bernadeau did yell at me it’s a toy. He didn’t appear to have anything, but we were going to back each other up to that point to actually get close enough to handcuff him and place him into custody. Right before we could do that, I heard a gunshot," Crespo says in the video. "I heard the subject yelling ‘don’t shoot’ or ‘you shot me. You shot me.' It was a slight pause and I heard a second shot."
Officer Crespo described the autistic man’s reaction as appearing agitated or frightened. A photo of the toy truck Soto was holding was also obtained by NBC 6.
Soto’s family Monday sued over how he was treated at the scene and at the police station later.
One of Aledda rounds didn’t hit Kinsey but ended up in the wall of a nearby building.
The officer pleaded not guilty. It will be several weeks before he or his lawyers are back in court. The North Miami Police Chief told Florida Department of Law Enforcement he was worried that some of his officers may not be objective when evaluating Aledda’s actions and that’s why he called FDLE to take over.
CORRECTION: (June 7, 2017, 4 p.m.): An earlier version of this story said NBC 6 had obtained a photo of a toy gun Soto was holding. It is a photo of a toy truck.