Miami - A North Miami police officer has been found guilty of culpable negligence for shooting at a severely autistic man and wounding the man's caretaker. CBS Miami reported officer Jonathan Aledda was found not guilty Monday night of the more serious, felony charge of attempted manslaughter.
Aledda faces up to a year in prison for the misdemeanor.
Arnaldo Rios Soto fled his group home in 2016 with a shiny silver toy truck. A passerby reported a possibly armed man, and police soon surrounded Soto and caretaker Charles Kinsey.
Aledda said he thought Soto's toy was a gun and Kinsey was being held hostage. Aledda then fired at Soto, striking Kinsey in the leg while he lay in the street in "surrender" pose and begged police not to shoot. Officers testified radio communication clarified the toy wasn't a gun.
"I believed it was a hostage situation," Aledda said. "It appeared he was screaming for mercy or for help or something. In my mind, the white male had a gun."
"I couldn't hear what the black man was saying. In my mind, I thought he might get shot," Aledda testified Monday.
The controversial shooting was caught on cellphone video that caused an uproar at the time.
Aledda's initial trial was declared a mistrial. Kinsey is suing the city.
At that first trial, Aledda testified he never heard another officer radio that the object was a toy and thought Rios was becoming aggressive. Prosecutors argued Aledda should have known Rios was holding a toy, not a weapon.
Aledda was the first police officer since 1989 to be prosecuted in Miami-Dade for an on-duty shooting.