Two officers have been suspended in the days falling the shooting of Charles Kinsey. Kinsey was shot by a Miami police officer who had responded to a call of a suicidal man with a gun. In reality, the suicidal man with a gun, was an autistic man with a toy truck.
Jonathan Aledda was named as the officer responsible for shooting Kinsey. Aledda has been on the job for four years and was also a member of SWAT. Aledda has been placed on administrative leave while an investigation is conducted by The Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Along with Aledda, a high-ranking officer has also been suspended following the shooting. Commander Emile Hollant was suspended without pay for giving “conflicting” testimony in regards to the shooting. The city did not go into any detail on specific statements made by Hollant.
The head of the police union came forward yesterday with answers over the shooting. John Rivera explained that Aledda was trying to shoot the autistic man with the toy truck to protect Kinsey. The claim is that the autistic man made a movement that looked as if he was going to harm Kinsey.
“Fearing for Mr. Kinsey’s life, the officer discharged his firearm, trying to save Mr. Kinsey’s life, and he missed, and accidentally struck Mr. Kinsey.”
While announcing that the officer had been trying to shoot an autistic man that posed no threat what-so-ever should be the most shocking part of this story, it is not. The initial call was for a suicidal man with a gun threatening to shoot himself. The police responded by shooting at a man they were told suicidal three times.
The Kinsey shooting highlights a major problem with police around the country. The officers were not able to identify that the suspect was an autistic man. These same officers responded to a suicidal man with lethal force. This is because our officers are not trained to respond adequately to those suffering from mental illness.
In this specific situation, it was easy to see that the two men in the street were not a threat to anyone around them. Kinsey is heard yelling multiple times that the man next to him is autistic and has a toy truck, not a gun. Kinsey was completely compliant with officers, yet he still was shot. This leads to another question, is there a way to avoid being fired upon by a trigger happy officer?
Kinsey was the most compliant he could have possibly been. He was laying on his back, with his hands in the air next to an autistic man begging for the officers not to shoot. Still, Officer Aledda fired three shots. While in many of these shootings, there are circumstances that can give justification for the officer’s decision to open fire, this is not one of those situations. There is absolutely no excuse for Kinsey’s shooting.