A North Miami official on Friday announced the names of the officers involved in the shooting of an unarmed black caretaker, Charles Kinsey, while he was lying on his back with his hands in the air.
North Miami City Manager Larry Spring said during a press conference that the officer who fired at Kinsey, striking him in the leg, was Jonathon Aledda, a four-year department veteran and member of the SWAT team.
The North Miami Police Department also published Aledda's personnel on its website. He has been placed on administrative leave.
Spring said that the other officer, Commander Emile Hollat, had also been placed on leave, but without pay, after investigators discovered "evidence of conflicting statements" regarding his account of the incident.
"I am well aware of the public sentiment," Spring said. "I can assure you, we are listening."
Kinsey had been trying to retrieve his patient with autism when he was shot in the leg while lying on his back with his hands in the air.
Video obtained by the Miami Herald shows Kinsey, 47, talking to Aledda and Hollat on Monday while a man was playing with a white toy truck next to him.
According to a press release by the City of North Miami Police Department, officers responded to the incident after receiving a call about an armed man threatening suicide.
When they arrived, they found Kinsey and his 23-year-old patient on the ground in the middle of the road. The patient was sitting down while Kinsey was on his back with his hands up.
“Can I get up, sir? Can I get up?” Kinsey can be heard saying in the video. “I am a behavior therapist in a group home. There’s no need for guns.”
He can also be heard talking to his patient, telling him to “please be still.”
The video cuts out during the moment police shot Kinsey in the leg, but a short clip recorded immediately afterward shows officers flipping Kinsey onto his stomach, patting him down, and placing him in handcuffs.
Police said Kinsey was transported to the Ryder Trauma Center, where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
Kinsey told local news station WVSN that the gunshot “was like a mosquito bite, and when it hit me, I’m like, ‘I still got my hands in the air, and I said, 'No, I just got shot!’”
He said he asked the officer why he shot him, “and his words to me, he said, ‘I don’t know.'”
Kinsey’s attorney, Hilton Napoleon, told the Miami Herald he was in the middle of negotiating a settlement with the city.
“They realize this was something inappropriate regarding the shooting,” he said. “If police departments come out more and admit fault, that would probably go a long way.”
Kinsey said he was initially more concerned about his patient than himself during the police encounter and was trying to keep the situation under control.
“I was thinking as long as I have my hands up, they’re not going to shoot me,” he said.
On Thursday, the president of the police union said the officer who fired his gun was aiming at the autistic man, not Kinsey.
The officer was trying to protect Kinsey from the other man, who police believed had a gun, Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association president John Rivera told Local 10.
"The one officer discharged his firearm trying to strike the individual that they thought was trying to bring harm onto Mr. Kinsey. This is not a case of police brutality," Rivera told Local 10. "This is not one of those cases where it's a rogue cop. This is not a case other than an officer who was trying to save the life of Mr. Kinsey and feels horrible that his aim missed and struck Mr. Kinsey."
On Thursday, the group home Kinsey works at released a statement in support of him.
"Charles is an honest, hard working and dedicated individual who did every-thing in his power to de-escalate a very volatile and dangerous situation, while complying fully with the orders of the North Miami Police Department," said MACTown president and CEO Clinton Bower.
"There is definitely an urgent need for our law enforcement personnel to be educated on the proper methods of dealing with people with intellectual disabilities," he added.
BuzzFeed News has reached out to Napoleon for more information.
BuzzFeed News reporter Claudia Koerner contributed to this report.
Tamerra Griffin is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based Nairobi, Kenya.
Contact Tamerra Griffin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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