Police commander fired over conflicting stories in shooting of unarmed man

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Charles Kinsey, left, lies on the ground next to Arnaldo Rios moments before he was shot in the thigh on July 18, 2016. (Photo: YouTube)

A police commander in Florida was told Wednesday that he’s being fired after an internal affairs investigation revealed he misled the police chief about circumstances surrounding the shooting of an unarmed man last summer.

North Miami Police Cmdr. Emile Hollant was the highest ranking officer on the scene last July when SWAT member Jonathan Aledda opened fire on behavioral therapist Charles Kinsey, according to the Miami Herald.

Kinsey was lying on the ground in the middle of the road next to a 27-year-old autistic man, Arnaldo Rios, who had wandered from his group home. He was trying to get Rios to calm down, and asked him to get on his stomach. But Rios refused, and yelled at Kinsey, who tried to tell police that the shiny object the autistic man was holding was a toy truck. Aledda opened fire and struck Kinsey, but he survived.

An investigation from the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office revealed that Hollant had gone to his patrol car to get binoculars and was not at the scene when Aledda opened fire. Hollant said someone told him the shiny object in Rios’ hands was a toy, and so he went to get binoculars so he could take a closer look.

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The toy truck Arnaldo Rios was holding, which police thought might have been a weapon. (Photo: North Miami Police Department)

But an internal affairs investigation directly contradicts those findings. In it, two officers said the commander was standing near them looking through binoculars when Aledda fired his rifle. “Commander Hollant appears to have been present prior, during, and after the shooting incident,” according to the internal affairs report.

Police Chief Gary Eugene says Hollant misled him when he said he wasn’t at the scene during the shooting. “He lied to me,” said Eugene. “The commander completely lied to me.”

Hollant’s attorney says the department is using his client as a “fall guy.”

Meanwhile, the man who opened fire, Jonathan Aledda, is facing two felony counts of attempted manslaughter and two misdemeanor counts of culpable negligence for the shooting. A trial is set for Oct. 10.