Screenshot: CBC News Video (YouTube)
Charles Kinsey thought he was good.
Despite police on the scene, as he laid on the North Miami sidewalk with his arms extended in the air, he believed he posed no threat. And he thought the same of his group home patient, 23-year-old Arnaldo Rios Soto, who sat beside him while playing with a toy truck.
“As long as I got my hands up, they’re not gonna shoot me,” Kinsey told WSVN in 2016. “This is what I’m thinking: ‘They’re not gonna shoot me.’ Wow, was I wrong.”
Officer Jonathan Aledda—one of six officers on the scene and the only one to open fire—shot three times anyway, hitting Kinsey once in the leg. When asked why he opened fire, the veteran SWAT team member offered a tepid, “I don’t know.” And now, the jury that acquitted him of attempted manslaughter seemingly gave those expecting justice the same response.
On Monday, the Washington Post reported that Aledda was found guilty of culpable negligence—a misdemeanor—for the 2016 shooting of Kinsey. In addition, two other felony attempted manslaughter charges in connection with the shooting were dismissed.
“We thought he should have never been charged to begin with,” Douglas Hartman, Aledda’s attorney, told NBC 6. “We’re disappointed that [the jury] found him guilty of a misdemeanor.”
In March, another jury had previously deadlocked on three of the four charges, the first filed against a police officer in Miami-Dade County for an on-duty shooting since 1989.
Amid the neverending headlines concerning unarmed black men suffering violence at the hands of reckless police officers, this serves as a cruel reminder that contrary to Kinsey’s belief, we’re never good.
Alleda faces up to a year in prison. But because the culpable negligence charge is a misdemeanor, it’s very possible he’ll be allowed to continue his career as a police officer.
“We think the verdict as delivered was fair,” Miami-Dade Chief Assistant State Attorney Don Horn told the Miami Herald.