North Miami Police Shooter Is A Staples Grad

Jonathon Aledda — the North Miami police officer who shot at an autistic man playing with a toy truck, wounding instead his black caregiver — is a Staples alumnus.

Jonathon Aledda, in the Staples High School Class of 2004 yearbook.

Jonathon Aledda, in the Staples High School Class of 2004 yearbook.

Aledda played Staples football, and was a hurdler on the high school track team. He graduated in 2004.

A 4-year veteran of the department, SWAT member and Officer of the Month in October 2014, he has been placed on administrative leave without pay.

The Miami Herald described the difficult challenges officers face:

As happens often with people who suffer from severe autism, the 27-year-old wandered away from his caregivers, in this case leaving a group home. Someone in the neighborhood misinterpreted his behavior, calling 911 while apparently mistaking his toy truck for a gun.

When North Miami police confronted the man sitting cross-legged in the middle of an intersection, he refused commands to lay down. That’s not unusual, experts say, for profoundly autistic people who cannot process verbal commands from police officers trained to think the worst.

“It looks like they’re being defiant, when in fact they have a disability,” said National Autism Association spokeswoman Wendy Fournier. “A lot of times they’re not verbal either, so they can’t even talk to police to explain why they are not responding.”

“This case is so crazy. I’m so glad that the man didn’t get shot and so grateful that his caregiver is going to be OK.”

Jonathon Aledda in 2016.

Jonathon Aledda in 2016.

The shooting of caretaker Charles Kinsey sparked widespread outrage Thursday after bystander video emerged showing him with his arms raised as police officers confronted the unnamed autistic man, who began hollering loudly. The president of North Miami’s police union said Thursday that the officer was aiming for the autistic man — fearing Kinsey was in danger — but hit the caretaker by mistake.

15 responses to “North Miami Police Shooter Is A Staples Grad

  1. Nancy Hunter

    Get rid of the guns, the culture of guns, and SEE a toy truck for what it is — a toy truck.

    • Nancy Hunter

      Autism voice communicators are available, sadly less available than guns.

  2. Peter Seidman

    This shooting took place two blocks from my house! Staples alumnus or not, “decorated” or not, Aledda’s behavior is exactly why we must all be vigilant in demanding “Black Lives Matter.” The idea that Charles Kinsey was shot by accident is another preposterous lie used by so-called police “unions” to justify any kind of criminal behavior by their members.
    Anyone who looks at the video of Kinsey’s demonstrative behavior after the cops interrupted his attempts to care for his patient can conclude nothing else (by the way, Dan, the autistic man in this story is not Black, the health care worker who was shot while trying to help him, is): http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/north-miami/article90901487.html
    If Kinsey was shot “by accident,” why did the cops handcuff him? There were no guns of any kind in view. At any given time during the day, however, there can be lots of kids walking or riding their bikes in the area.
    Why was an armed response even considered instead of less violent measures (such as the ones you described in a later post today, about Westport, in your blog?)
    Aledda’s supervisor, Cmdr. Emile Hollant was also placed on suspension today after it was revealed that he participated in an attempted cover up of the facts in this incident. When “decorated” officers and newly-promoted commanders, and union reps, think it’s perfectly normal and justified to lie about the shooting of a Black health care aide, it tells you all you need to know about the culture of the police in North Miami, and most everywhere else.
    Black Lives Matter is telling a simple truth aimed at ending racist violence. Let’s not dissolve it into a truism about all lives. Let’s not rationalize police criminality with irrelevant citations of heroism and public service.
    06880 tells a lot of interesting stories about Westporters making admirable contributions in the world. Unfortunately, this is one Staples grad who did just the opposite.

  3. Sharon Paulsen

    Just brings the whole issue closer to home … again.

    I happen to agree with much of Peter and Nancy’s comments above.

    As I mentioned in the earlier post regarding the “distressed woman/no meds” situation, this is, at large, an issue of mindset – a pervasive and ancient human attribute.

    In a Utopian world, the United States should have long ago become far removed from this mindset. It was declared, after all, constitutionally (by very enlightened individuals), and that was a great start.

    But hell if the smart stuff just doesn’t stick to the wall.

    Fear, and greed, and corruption still lands on the headlines.

    There’s no sand deep enough anymore to bury one’s head in.

    I’m so very tired.

  4. Patricia Gelini

    Let’s consider this scene: a police officer whose job it is it to protect citizens, comes upon a scene. A man is making unusual gestations and noises to, at or in spite of another man. The officer cautiously approaches both men (does not pull out a gun) and asks, “is everything OK here?’. ( I remember police officers doing that in my life and my children’s lives). Charles answers, ” My patient is autistic. He is having a difficult episode. Dan is not dangerous..” The officer asks, “What can I do to help? Do you need an ambulance?” Charles says yes or no depending on his evaluation of Dan’s condition. No one gets shot. Or this change in scene: both men are white. Would Charles get shot? I know there are wonderful police officers in this country; I have benefited numerous time from their spot on response to my 911 calls or tolerance to the noise coming from my house full of musicians. My experience with police officers has been 99% positive. Watching these events in my country, I have to ask, why do some police officers., whose job it is to protect, seem to arrive with guns drawn on citizens before any questions are asked or any threat is apparent? I like my experience of the cop as my security, safety. I hate what I am seeing in the news: the cop as the most dangerous guy on the scene. As a former school teacher I can tell you in my profession, there are many, many fabulous teachers. There are many fabulous police officers in our country. And, teachers or officers, there are some that do not belong in the profession; they are dangerous and diminish the profession. I have never believed that the rotten apples should stay in the barrel or be protected by the quality apples.

  5. There is absolutely no excuse for why this cop shot this man! He was on his stomach, with his hands raised in the air. He obviously had no weapon in his hands…how was he any kind of threat? The Autistic man next to him had a toy truck in his hand, obviously not a gun unless the cop has terrible eyesight.
    This to me is just a case of a trigger happy cop getting nervous and handling the situation in the worst way possible. Then to try and cover it up is really stupid when there it is right on camera!
    He should be made to apologize to the Caregiver, and to pay all his medical bills at the very least! Then get educated before they let him back on the force!
    Just my 2 cents…

  6. How many ways can Westport meet the world? 🙂 Always amazed. Another connection and interesting discussion. It seems the police need additional training — too many incidents where the gun comes out too fast.

  7. Karl S. Taylor, Southport, NC

    Previous comments are all spot on. Teachers and policemen without proper training can ruin the lives of people they come in contact with. The better the training the better chance their subjects have in coming out unscathed.

  8. So he knows people can see he is a police officer who made a bad mistake and nothing worse, from a Twitter conversation that went on to include reporters, “fr @USS_NYC to @GeorgeBakhos “madness is when police officer makes up a story to cover up a mistake, he’s not doing that, I’m betting this event – (1/2)”

    I’m also betting Westport, CT uses its political capital on both republican & democrat sides to keep agitator politicians (sharpton) & obvious lackeys (himes) from working against this officer; it seems the 2 involved – shot & shooter – are the type who can make what happened here into a moment from which police and communities can work better together.

  9. Susan Holden

    Dan, I believe you made a mistake in identifying the black man as being the autistic man. He was the caregiver and the white guy was the patient with autism!

    Susan R. Holden Realtor, ABR Licensed in CT & NY William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty 199 Post Road Westport, CT. 06880

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    Search For Properties in Fairfield County

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  10. Kathie Bennewitz

    Unbelievable the shooting you showed me had a connection to wPt

    Regards, Kathie

    >

  11. I saw on the news (not necessarily the truth) that the facility had been requesting a meeting with the local police department on handling problems with its charges. The requests were ignored.

    If this is so, then if blame is to be assigned, the leadership of the police dept. should be a part of it. And a nationwide effort to educate officers in the handling of such people should be encouraged.

    (I won’t get into Aledda’s story, as I read it in the news, as it’s too nonsensical; presumably, investigations will determine the truth.)

    What frightens me is that none of these recent incidents would be known without the plethora of cameras today; what was going on before?

    Having had my own run-ins (sometimes saved by the fact that I personally knew 2 of the greatest cops in the West San Fernando Valley), I can say–a lot.

  12. It’s difficult to know what is going on in someone else’s mind. However, if Officer Aledda’s motivation was to protect Mr. Kinsey I really need to hear a sensible, reasonable, and truthful answer as to why Mr. Kinsey was flipped over and handcuffed after the shooting. I am picturing a young white woman accidentally being shot by an officer, and somehow I can’t envision the same subsequent response. I’m ready to listen though.

  13. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    I wonder how this situation would have been dealt with without the universalization of it on social media.