Miami Therapist Files Federal Lawsuit Against Police Officer Who Shot Him

Police union says they're not to blame because the intended target was someone else

Miami behavioral therapist Charles Kinsey who was shot in the street by police last month has filed a federal lawsuit against the officer who shot him. Kinsey was unarmed at the time and trying to talk an autistic client into returning to a nearby group home. Police were dispatched because a 911 call erroneously reported that Kinsey’s client Arnaldo Rios was holding a gun.

The officer has been identified as Jonathan Aledda, 30.

The shooting sparked outrage across the country after the viral video showed Kinsey lying on his back with his arms in the air before being shot. Kinsey was trying to help a 23-year-old autistic man who had broken out of a group home where he worked.

His patient is seen on the video rocking back and forth next to Kinsey, clutching the toy Aledda believed was a weapon. The patient was not hurt.

“All he has is a toy truck, a toy truck,” Kinsey told the cop. “I am a behavior therapist at a group home,” he said.

Aledda fired three times, striking Kinsey in the leg. In spite of claims that Kinsey was not the intended target, police handcuffed him while he lay wounded in the street.

The lawsuit states that police approached the scene in “military-style formation” and accuses police of using excessive force, wrongful arrest, and failing to render aid to Kinsey after the shooting.

“By failing to render aid, Officer Aledda allowed Mr. Kinsey to unnecessarily bleed out on the ground for a significant period of time, which further exasperated Mr. Kinsey’s recovery time for his injuries,” reads the complaint, which was filed by Kinsey’s Coral Gables attorney, Hilton Napoleon.

Kinsey’s lawsuit walks through the sequence of events that ended with Kinsey, a behavioral technician at the nearby group home, shot in the leg, handcuffed and bleeding in the middle of the street. It alleges that when North Miami officers arrived at Northeast 127th Street and 14th Avenue, they immediately grabbed assault rifles from their cars and approached in a “military-style formation.”

The police union issued a statement saying that Rios was the intended target, not Kinsey.

The head of the Miami police union has said Aledda couldn’t hear Kinsey yelling that he was a therapist and that Rios was autistic. Aledda thought Rios was threatening Kinsey and the shot he fired was intended to hit Rios, but missed, according to the union.

Kinsey’s lawsuit demands a jury trial and unstated monetary damages from Aledda.


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