No prison for North Miami cop who shot at autistic man with toy
For shooting at an unarmed autistic man, ex-North Miami Police officer Jonathon Aledda avoided jail when a judge sentenced him to something called “administrative probation.” That means he’d go unmonitored — not even having to report to a probation officer.
Turns out, the sentence was illegal.
The reason: Florida judges themselves can’t sentence anyone to administrative probation. So Aledda on Wednesday returned to court, and Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Alan Fine had no choice but to change it to regular probation, which means the former officer will have to regularly check in with a probation officer.
Aledda was first sentenced earlier this month for the July 2016 shooting that outraged South Florida and roiled the North Miami police department.
The 33-year-old was fired from the North Miami police departmen and is now living in upstate Florida. Judge Fine allowed Aledda to skip paying costs associated with probation supervision.
He was convicted of misdemeanor culpable negligence for shooting three times at Arnaldo Rios Soto, a severely autistic 26-year-old man who was holding a shiny silver toy truck. He missed Soto, but instead hit and wounded Charles Kinsey, an unarmed behavioral therapist who was laying on the ground with his hands in the air, begging police not to shoot
Aledda, at his trial in June, testified that he believed Soto had a gun and was holding Kinsey hostage in the middle of a North Miami street. A motorist had called 911 to report a man she believed might be holding a gun to his head.
Prosecutors argued that Aledda fired in haste, ignoring a radio dispatch from another cop who had determined the toy was no weapon.
The jury acquitted him of two felony counts of attempted manslaughter but convicted on the misdemeanor. Prosecutors asked Fine to sentence him to 30 days in jail, plus 11 months of probation and to leave the conviction intact on his criminal record.
Instead, the judge sentenced him to the one year of administrative probation and 100 hours of community service and ordered him to write a 2,500-word essay on communication and weapon discharges. He also granted Aledda a “withhold of adjudication,” which means Aledda’s conviction will not appear on his criminal record.