Officer Charged After High-Profile Shooting Of Autistic Man's Unarmed Caregiver

"I did what I had to do in a split second," said the cop in his defense.

Last Summer, Charles Kinsey was shot by police officer Jonathan Aledda in a high-profile incident caught on camera. Kinsey was in the process of retreiving an autistic patient of his who had wandered from his group home. Kinsey pleaded and cooperated with police while lying down with his arms in the air and was shot anyway. Bystanders caught the alarming incident on video and it was later widely circulated around the internet. Now, the officer who fired at Kinsey is being charged with attempted manslaughter and misdemeanor culpable negligence.

Aledda shot Kinsey in the leg as he lay in the street next to his ward, begging for cooperation from both cops and his patient. Police had been called on the patient, a resident of the Miami Achievement Center for the Developmentally Disabled, because a woman had thought a toy truck he was carrying was a gun. Police fired shots as Kinsey attempted to explain the situation.

Aledda was "not in the position to correctly assess the situation or in a position to accurately fire," according to a press release from the state attorney's office. Two other police officers "were within 20 feet of the situation" when he fired.

ABC reports that state attorney's office based the charges on "the result of a lengthy inquiry," which included a review of the police investigation, numerous police and prosecutor meetings to review evidence, and statements from police witnesses. Aledda had been placed on paid administrative leave following the incident. Aledda's lawyer is claiming that it is "totally inappropriate to bring any charges against the officer."

"I took this job to save lives and help people. I did what I had to do in a split second to accomplish that and hate to hear others paint me as something I'm not," Aledda said in a statement last July.

It is unclear whether Aledda has entered a plea in response to the charges. The Miami New Times adds that his bond has been set at $6,000. Miami New Times also notes that the charges are surprising considering State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundl general pro-police policies, as evidenced by the lack of charges brought against prison guards who had forced a mentally ill inmate into a scalding hot shower until he died. That decision sparked protests.

[Photo: Screenshot from YouTube]

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