Victim Takes Stand, Closing Arguments Expected In Trial Of Police Officer Accused Of Shooting Unarmed Caretaker
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Closing arguments in the case of a North Miami police officer accused of shooting an unarmed caretaker were expected Thursday afternoon.
Jonathan Aledda and his defense attorneys were thrown a curveball Thursday in court.
Instead of beginning with closing arguments, the state called the man Aledda shot to the stand.
An exhausted and apparently ill Charles Kinsey came face to face with Aledda, who nearly killed the behavioral therapist in a 2016 shooting.
Kinsey was asked multiple questions before closing arguments.
Aledda was on duty on July 2016 when the shooting took place. The case received nationwide attention.
He took the stand in his own defense in front of a Miami jury on Wednesday.
Aledda is charged with two counts of felony attempted manslaughter and two counts of culpable negligence.
Police were called to a scene after a report that a man had a shiny object with him that was possibly a gun.
The defense says Aledda believed that 26-year-old Arnaldo Rios, a severely disabled man, was holding his caretaker Charles Kinsey hostage.
"Obviously he had his hands forward but he was becoming aggressive so I thought that he could shoot him at any moment," Aledda said on the stand.
Prosecutors say Aledda fired three times at Rios. One bullet struck Kinsey in the thigh and nearly hit a main artery.
Cell phone video showed Kinsey lying on the ground with his hands in the air. Prosecutor Reid Rubin and Kinsey both have said that Kinsey was no threat.
"When he turned around aggressively, that's when I quickly holstered my radio and put both hands back on my rifle," Aledda said.
Last Friday afternoon, prosecution witness, Officer Alens Bernadeau, testified that Kinsey was yelling that he had his hands up in the air.
"Did he keep his hands up," the officer was asked.
"Yes," he replied. "He had some sort of toy or truck or car."
Bernadeau also demonstrated how it was pointed.
"It was pointed like this at me," he said, as he handled the toy truck in front of jurors.
Bernadeau, who was standing with his partner 20 feet away from Kinsey and Rios, said he did not feel compelled to fire his weapon.
Aledda is the first police officer since 1989 to be prosecuted in Miami-Dade for an on-duty shooting.
Civil rights groups have criticized police tactics in this case.
In dramatic testimony last week, Kinsey said, "My hands were straight up."
"Why did you put your hands up," the prosecutor asked.
"Because they pulled out guns and I let them know I was not a threat," replied Kinsey. "I told the officers there is no need for firing. I am not a threat. I am not armed. My client is not armed. I am a behavioral therapist. That's all this is."
The jury received instructions on deliberation, how to judge the case and determine Aledda's fate late Thursday.
They will return at 9 a.m to deliberate.
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