I first wrote about this in 2016. In that article, I asked what the hell was wrong with the North Miami Police Department.
Now, the jury in the trial of North Miami PD officer Jonathan Aledda has declared itself hung on the counts of attempted manslaughter for shooting unarmed therapist Charles Kinsey.
Mr. Kinsey is the one laying down with his hands up.
Jonathan Aledda should be fired and retried.
Jonathan Aledda showed horrible judgement in shooting Charles Kinsey, and is unfit to serve in law enforcement. He claims he was aiming at the person sitting to the right, an autistic patient Mr. Kinsey was trying to coax back to a group home. The patient was reported to have a gun (it was a toy truck). That was wrong. Aledda claims that he never heard anything over the radio to contradict that. He also claims he thought Mr Kinsey’s life was in danger. Due to the toy truck.
In the video shot before Mr Kinsey was shot, it is clear that the patient has no weapon. Further, it is the responsibility of the officer on the scene to see that. For an officer to only rely on a radio report, and not the evidence before him is insane. Aledda stated that he thought Mr Kinsey was a hostage. This should be easy to refute. Mr Kinsey was shouting that he was not in danger, and that the patient was unarmed. Aledda ignored this, and fired anyway.
And should be grounds for immediate termination.
Then there’s the jury…
We also need to figure out what happened in the jury room. The facts are not in dispute. The only decision was if this was justifiable. Had the patient actually held a weapon, and had the patient been actively threatening Mr Kinsey, then yes, shooting would be called for. Or at the least on the table as an option. But, that was not the situation. There was not weapon. There was no threat. And the officer fired anyway.
In a vote of 5-1, the jury voted to acquit. 5-1. So you have to wonder what went wrong. Like other shootings, the fact of the shot is not in question. As a result, I have to wonder how anyone could look at that video, and conclude that Jonathan Aledda was correct to shoot.
We need to be better than this
Police officers have a tough job. They must make instant life-or-death decisions. Then those decisions are analyzed, by people who weren’t there. For this reason, they earned the benefit of the doubt. However, when they err, they must be accountable. If the officers themselves won’t hold each other accountable, then society must. And the mechanism for that is the courts.
Police deserve our respect when they serve with honor. These are the people who stand between us and the barbarians amongst us. And we should respect that. However, when those guardians err as severely as Jonathan Aledda, they must be held accountable. Must.
To do otherwise is a crime against us all.