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Appeals court overturns conviction that Miami police officer shot unarmed autistic man

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami)

An appeals court on Wednesday ordered a new trial of a former North Miami police officer who was found guilty of reprehensible negligence in the high-profile shooting of the carer of an autistic man who left. from the dormitory.

A three-judge panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeals said a circuit judge erred in refusing to allow a SWAT commander to testify about the training Jonathan Aledda received in connection with the child rescue. believe.

Aledda’s attorney Eric Schwartzreich told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “Basically what the appellate court said was that Aledda Police should have been able to present what he had been trained for and he was stripped of that.” fair trial. There were 13 officers on the scene and he was the only SWAT officer and he did what he was trained to do. He shows up at the scene and he believes there is a hostage situation and he opens fire to protect someone. I understand there are strong emotions on both sides of the aisle but this is not the case for a bad cop. He’s trying to save someone’s life.”

Schwartzreich said Aledda is “excited” about the ruling and looks forward to getting her job back. He said Aledda did not want to comment right now because of the possibility of a new trial.

A grand jury found Aledda guilty of misdemeanor negligence, and he was sentenced to one year of probation.

The 2016 shooting happened after Arnaldo Rios-Soto, a man with a developmental disability, ran home from a group and sat in the middle of an intersection while carrying a toy truck, according to a ruling today. Wednesday.

Caretaker Charles Kinsey followed Rios-Soto to the intersection and told the officers that Rios-Soto was holding a toy.

In the end, Kinsey got to the ground with Rios-Soto. Additional officers arrived, including Aledda, who thought Rios-Soto had a gun and was taking Kinsey hostage, the ruling said.

Aledda thinks Kinsey is in danger and fires her weapon, hitting Kinsey in the hip while Rios-Soto goes missing. While concluding Aledda was guilty of unfortunate negligence, the jury acquitted him of two counts of attempted murder.

The appeals court said Aledda argued he was acting on his training as a SWAT officer and that he should have been allowed to present testimony from a commander, Angel Rivera.

“While the state is allowed to present evidence of how other officers present at the scene reacted to the situation and how ‘shocked’ those officers were when Aledda fired her weapon, the ruling by The trial court’s challenging testimony prohibited Aledda from presenting the main component of his defense,” the 16-page ruling was written by Judge Edwin Scales and starring Judges Eric Hendon and Bronwyn. Miller.

“According to the facts and circumstances of this case, we conclude that the exclusion of Rivera’s testimony constitutes a reversible error and that Aledda should receive a new trial.”

Kinsey’s attorney, Hilton Napoleon, told D’Oench, “This activity is unrelated to the SWAT operation. I’m not sure if his SWAT training had anything to do with how he reacted. Most of the time we cannot point to an officer’s training to show that they did something wrong with what they were trained to do. I spoke to Mr Kinsey this morning and he is willing to do whatever it takes to secure a conviction in this case. He doesn’t think Officer Aledda should be a police officer nor does he think he should get his certificate back.”

Late Wednesday night, Kinsey spoke exclusively with D’Oench.

“It is sad how our justice system is. If it was an ordinary person, that person would never have had the opportunity to appeal those allegations,” he said.

Kinsey said he hopes Aledda will never wear the badge again.

“Yes, I would oppose him returning to the force. Because, for me, it was recklessness,” Kinsey said.

And Kinsey, who said he would testify if there was another trial, told D’Oench the shooting that left him on a cane, still haunts him.

“Mentally, you know, I’m shaking. I still have to deal with this every day. And then you still hear about police brutality, police shooting unarmed Black men, things that are still going on to this day,” Kinsey said. “These guys are not responsible for their actions. He needs to be held accountable. He shouldn’t be retrial and he shouldn’t be reinstated as a police officer at all, for the time being”.

“We disagree with the court’s decision,” said Mathew Dietz, an attorney for patients with autism. We hope that no officer has been trained to prove that what Mr. Aledda did was justifiable.” He called what happened “absolutely terrifying”.

He said Soto was just “wiggling back and forth with a toy truck. My client wants to see a new trial but it’s hard. The trial was exhausting and my client was derided. He is currently living in Orlando with his mother.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle released the following statement:

“Today’s decision by the Appeals Court to overturn the possible negligence charge of Jonathon Aledda is disappointing to all who believe this shooting was unnecessary and inaccurate.”

“Since Lozano’s appeal decision in 1991, prosecutors have not been allowed to use police policy and training as evidence in criminal trials involving police officers.”

“Today’s opinion says that an accused police officer, in order to defend a criminal prosecution, can use police policy and training as evidence. At this point, we will begin to explore the possibility of a hearing before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.”

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https://www.winknews.com/2022/02/17/appeals-court-overturns-conviction-of-miami-cop-who-shot-at-unarmed-autistic-man/ Appeals court overturns conviction that Miami police officer shot unarmed autistic man

Tom Vazquez

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