Toddler requires CPR after found in North Miami pool

North Miami police officers initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a toddler who was found in a North Miami house pool Saturday afternoon. 

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue paramedics took the child from the home at 12725 NE Second Ave. They took the child to Jackson North. 

The child was in critical condition, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Felipe Lay said.

This was the second time paramedics responded to a house pool to try to save a child found in a house pool in South Florida so far this holiday weekend. The first ended with the child’s death.

After 2-year-old Terrance Shellman III drowned in a Lauderhill house pool Friday, his grandmother Tania Harvey asked parents to learn from their tragedy.

“Please keep an eye on your loved ones and your kids because it can just happen in a second,” the distraught grandmother said in tears. 

This is a developing story. Refresh this link for the latest information. 

Local 10 News Melissa Alvarez and Christian De La Rosa contributed to this report. 

Follow this story

Toddler requires CPR after found in North Miami pool

Miami-Dade police officers initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a toddler who was found in a North Miami house pool Saturday afternoon. 

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue paramedics took the child from the home at 12725 NE Second Ave. They took the child to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center. 

The child was in critical condition, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Felipe Lay said.

This was the second time paramedics responded to a house pool to try to save a child found in a house pool in South Florida so far this holiday weekend. The first ended with the child’s death.

After 2-year-old Terrance Shellman III drowned in a Lauderhill house pool Friday, his grandmother Tania Harvey asked parents to learn from their tragedy.

“Please keep an eye on your loved ones and your kids because it can just happen in a second,” the distraught grandmother said in tears. 

This is a developing story. Refresh this link for the latest information. 

Local 10 News Melissa Alvarez and Christian De La Rosa contributed to this report. 

Follow this story

Attorney says North Miami police commander’s firing is a ‘set-up’

North Miami police Cmdr. Emile Hollant’s 25-year law enforcement career may soon come to a crashing end as part of the fallout from the universally denounced shooting last year of behavioral therapist Charles Kinsey.

Kinsey was shot in the street with held his hands high up in the air next to his autistic client Arnaldo Rios.

Hollant didn’t shoot Kinsey in the leg with a rifle.

That was Officer Jonathon Aledda, who has since been charged criminally with attempted manslaughter in the case.

Aledda apparently believed Rios was holding a gun when in fact it was a toy truck, something Aledda’s fellow officers had clearly announced on the radio prior to the shooting.

Even if Aledda, a SWAT team member, believed Rios was holding a gun, it made no sense for him to shoot Kinsey, who happens to be black. Aledda told fellow officers he was aiming at Rios and missed.

Hollant faces termination of his job for allegedly lying about whether or not he actually witnessed the shooting or not. He said he was initially on scene but that when the three shots were fired from Aledda’s gun, he was a block away grabbing his binoculars out of his vehicle.

It wasn’t until four days after the shooting that Assistant Chief Larry Juriga alleged that Hollant had lied about that and that he had witnessed the shooting.

When he told then-Chief Gary Eugene that he believed radio transmissions proved Hollant lied when he claimed he didn’t witness the shooting, the commander was suspended without pay.

The alleged chief culprit, Aledda, was suspended with pay, a fact Hollant backers contend proves the fix was in on Hollant from the beginning.

The radio transmissions show that Hollant, about two minutes prior to the shooting, said on the radio that it appeared Rios was “loading his weapon.”

But Hollant was more than 150 feet away. Officer Alens Bernadeau was closer to the scene and soon clarified that Kinsey was saying it was a toy.

He would also announce on the radio well before Aledda fired that he could see it was a toy.

“I have a visual, it does not appear to be a firearm,” Bernadeau said on the radio.

Hollant said that after Bernadeau announced Rios was holding a toy he decided to run to his vehicle and get his binoculars for a better look.

“I didn’t know what I had at the time, it could have been a hostage situation,” Hollant testified. “I did not know that the kid was autistic.  All I knew was there was a man with his hands up, did not know he was trying to prevent this guy from killing himself and something happened. When I heard, ‘It’s a toy, it’s a toy,’ I decided to run back to my vehicle so I could get my binoculars.”

It was while he was doing this, he said, that he heard a “three-round burst” of gunfire and, after waiting a couple of seconds, radioed, “shots fired.” He said he then ran back to the scene to see that Kinsey had been shot.

The State Attorney’s Office conducted an investigation and cleared Hollant, saying the allegation he was lying was due to “miscommunication” and that Hollant had in fact not lied. Eugene testified that he believed he’d been misled by Juriga and that he too believed Hollant was truthful about getting his binoculars.

But that wasn’t the end of it.

An internal investigation began.

And in numerous sworn statements, not a single officer could definitively place Hollant at the scene when the shots were fired. Sgt. Milton Reid even testified that Hollant, who’d been promoted just days before from the rank of sergeant, left the scene and returned with his binoculars.

“I lost track of him because I’m focusing on the targets and then I see Hollant come back with binoculars,” Reid said.

Reid also, however, alleged he saw Hollant look through the binoculars before the shooting took place. It was a contention Reid didn’t mention in his initial interview directly after the shooting. In fact, when asked about officers he’d seen prior to the shooting taking place, he named two other officers but didn’t name Hollant at all.

Despite the scant evidence, the IA disposition panel sustained the allegation that Hollant was untruthful.

“It was determined that Commander Hollant committed administrative obstruction of law enforcement investigation by way of false statement,” announced North Miami City Manager Larry Spring at a community meeting last week.

It was a finding with which North Miami Assistant Chief Neal Cuevas vehemently disagreed.

In a June 2 memorandum, Cuevas called the IA investigation into Hollant an “unmitigated miscarriage of justice” that was “replete with misinformation, half-truths and blatant inconsistencies.”

Meanwhile, Hollant’s direct supervisor, Major Tim Belcher, recommended that based on the findings, Hollant should be demoted back down to sergeant, in part based on the fact that Hollant, whether he saw the actual shooting or not, should have announced himself as a witness.

“Commander Hollant should have taken charge of the direction of this critical incident,” Belcher wrote.

Despite the fact that Cuevas believed the investigation was a sham and that Belcher felt Hollant should only be demoted, Juriga, who made the initial allegation against Hollant that was contradicted by the state attorney’s office, made the decision to fire Hollant while Eugene was on medical leave and he was serving as acting chief.

Eugene was also informed that he, too, was being fired. He said Spring, the city manager, told him the department was going in another direction.

But then came media reports that the city was claiming he had contradicted himself in sworn statements regarding Hollant, telling prosecutors that Hollant had told him the truth but stating in the IA investigation that Hollant had lied to him.

But Eugene told Local 10 that statement was taken out of context to be used against him and that he was describing how he felt at the time the allegation was made against Hollant just days after the shooting. Indeed, the question preceding his statement was in the past tense, referring to when he “went to the city manager.”

“When you said that you went to the city manager with this, you said, and I wrote it down, you said that you probably moved to right with your comment on this,” Sgt. Diana Roman said. “So it is fair to say it was your interpretation ….”

It was at that point Eugene jumped in to say he felt at the time that Hollant had lied.

“That he lied to me,” Eugene said. “The commander completely lied to me.”

He said he doesn’t believe Hollant lied, but said he believes Hollant, as commanding officer on the scene, should have had someone else retrieve binoculars and that Hollant should have been interviewed as a witness after the shooting. But he said those transgressions, while they may have justified some form of punishment, it didn’t warrant termination. 

City activist Stephanie Kienzle, who was the first to report on the Cuevas memo on her website VotersOpinion.com, said she believes Juriga cooked up the case against Hollant as a “power play.”

It’s a sentiment shared by many who attended last week’s community meeting on the firings led by Spring and attended by Juriga, with some calling it a “vendetta” and demanding Hollant be given his job back.  

“You have misled the council and you’re misleading the community,” resident Raymond Emmanuel said.

“These people were against the commander from the beginning; they’re just trying to cover this up and cover their butts,” another resident who declined to be named said.

Juriga refused to comment on the case.

“Out of respect to Commander Hollant, let’s let the process continue,” he told Local 10 News investigative reporter Bob Norman.

“I think his attorney would argue that he hasn’t been shown any respect in this process,” Norman said.

“That’s his right to argue that,” Juriga said. “That’s fine.”

Hollant’s attorney, Michael Joseph, said he believed his client was “set up” and was being played as a “patsy” in the shooting. He has already filed an EEOC complaint on Hollant’s behalf and is preparing a civil suit.

“He’s been branded as a dirty cop, as someone that lied, that tried to hide something,” Joseph said. “And he’s not the person the city tried to make him out to be. … They’re trying to make him be some kind of fall guy and we’re trying to fight it.”

Follow this story

North Miami officials defend decision to fire police chief

North Miami leaders defended their decision to fire police Chief Gary Eugene during a meeting held Wednesday night.

But some at the meeting weren’t buying their reasoning.

“As a resident of North Miami, I don’t trust you anymore,” a resident said.

That feeling was echoed by a majority of people who attended the meeting.

Officials played audio recordings they said serve as evidence the chief lied and gave contradicting statements when detectives interviewed him regarding his handling of the department following the shooting of Charles Kinsey.

Cmdr. Emile Hollant was in charge of the scene when Kinsey, a behavioral therapist, was shot as he was on his back with his hands in the air. Sitting next to him was an autistic man, Arnaldo Rios, who was holding a toy truck.

Kinsey was shot by Officer Jonathon Aledda, who has since been charged with attempted manslaughter and culpable negligence.

Hollant originally told Eugene he hadn’t witnessed the shooting.

An investigation later showed Hollant had been present “prior, during and after the shooting incident,” according to city records.

“Evidence also suggests the chief may have colluded with one of the officers in question to circumvent the internal affairs investigation,” City Manager Larry Spring said.

Eugene was at the meeting.

“I think they’re trying to create a side story,” he said.

Eugene went on to say he is “definitely” considering legal action.

The city is set to  fire Eugene on July 7 if he refuses to accept a severance package.

When asked if he’s reconsidering his choice to fire Eugene, Spring said no. 

Follow this story

North Miami officials defend decision to fire police chief

North Miami leaders defended their decision to fire police Chief Gary Eugene during a meeting held Wednesday night.

But some at the meeting weren’t buying their reasoning.

“As a resident of North Miami, I don’t trust you anymore,” a resident said.

That feeling was echoed by a majority of people who attended the meeting.

Officials played audio recordings they said serve as evidence the chief lied and gave contradicting statements when detectives interviewed him regarding his handling of the department following the shooting of Charles Kinsey.

Cmdr. Emile Hollant was in charge of the scene when Kinsey, a behavioral therapist, was shot as he was on his back with his hands in the air. Sitting next to him was an autistic man, Arnaldo Rios, who was holding a toy truck.

Kinsey was shot by Officer Jonathon Aledda, who has since been charged with attempted manslaughter and culpable negligence.

Hollant originally told Eugene he hadn’t witnessed the shooting.

An investigation later showed Hollant had been present “prior, during and after the shooting incident,” according to city records.

“Evidence also suggests the chief may have colluded with one of the officers in question to circumvent the internal affairs investigation,” City Manager Larry Spring said.

Eugene was at the meeting.

“I think they’re trying to create a side story,” he said.

Eugene went on to say he is “definitely” considering legal action.

The city is set to  fire Eugene on July 7 if he refuses to accept a severance package.

When asked if he’s reconsidering his choice to fire Eugene, Spring said no. 

Follow this story

North Miami commander to be fired in relation to Charles Kinsey shooting

North Miami police Cmdr. Emile Hollant was given notice Wednesday that he will be fired after an investigation into the shooting of Charles Kinsey, according to city officials. 

Hollant was in charge when Kinsey was shot as he was lying on his back, with his hands in the air in the area of Northeast 14th Avenue and Northeast 127th Street. Sitting next to him was an autistic man holding a toy truck.

In the video of the incident, Kinsey is heard telling officers that he is unarmed. Authorities said Officer Jonathon Aledda was behind a car 152 feet away when he shot Kinsey.

Aledda has since been charged with attempted manslaughter and culpable negligence.

A memo dated July 22, 2016, states that Hollant was asked by Chief Gary Eugene if he had witnessed the shooting, and he advised that he had not. 

“Evidence later collected during the administrative review process revealed that Commander Hollant to have been present prior, during and after the shooting incident,” the memo said. “Given the belief that Commander Hollant was not a witness to the incident, he was neither interviewed by the Investigative Section in a timely manner, nor separated as the other witness officers were at the scene.” 

The memo goes on to say that due to the evidence collected, an internal affairs case was opened in order to follow up on allegations of obstructing an investigation. 

On Wednesday, a letter was sent to Hollant about the investigation and the department’s intent to terminate him. The letter  said that the allegation was found to be sustained through the investigation. 

“The Disposition Panel deemed your statements to be ‘contradictory to statements made by other officers at the scene,'” the letter said. “Based on testimony by North Miami law enforcement personnel and radio transmissions, the panel determined that you were at the scene prior, during and after the shooting.” 

During his internal investigation interview, Eugene stated, “The commander completely lied to me,” the letter said. 

Dozens of interviews were conducted with officers and witnesses during the course of the investigation, including Kinsey. 

Hollant is allowed to have a hearing before he is fired, North Miami officials said. 

 

 

Follow this story