A North Miami police officer accused of shooting an autistic man’s caretaker in 2016 refused a plea deal Monday that would have kept him out of prison.
The plea deal would have required Jonathan Aledda to plead guilty to culpable negligence in exchange for one-year probation and loss of his law enforcement certification.
Aledda was acquitted on one misdemeanor negligence charge during his first trial in March. The jury was deadlocked on a second negligence charge and two counts of attempted manslaughter which resulted in a mistrial.
According to the jury foreman, five of the six jurors wanted to acquit Aledda of all charges. Jury selection is now underway for his retrial scheduled to begin June 30th.
On July 18, 2016, a motorist called 911 after seeing Arnaldo Rios Soto on the side of the road, saying the man appeared suicidal and may be holding a gun. Charles Kinsey, Soto’s caretaker, was trying to coax Soto back into the group home he had left. That was when police arrived on scene.
Aledda, a trained SWAT member, testified he thought Soto had a gun and was endangering Kinsey. Soto was only holding a toy truck. Aledda says he was aiming to disarm Soto but struck Kinsey in the leg instead. Authorities say Kinsey, with his arms raised, was begging police not to shoot.
This incident gained national attention after it was captured on video by a bystander.
Aledda insisted he never heard another message on the police radio stating Soto was not holding a gun. His defense lawyer, Douglas Hartman, blamed faulty radios and poor supervision by the North Miami Police Department.
“He had a life-and-death situation. He thought without question that Mr. Kinsey was going to die, be shot and murdered,” Hartman said.
However, Miami-Dade Chief Assistant State Attorney Don Horn stated, “With a lot of power and authority also comes a lot of responsibility. The shots that Jonathan Aledda fired were not a misfire. Each shot was intentional while he was trying to kill Arnoldo Rios Soto.”
Aledda is the first police officer in 30 years to be prosecuted in Miami-Dade for an on-duty shooting. He faces 66 years in prison if convicted.