Family of autistic man involved in behavioral therapist shooting files civil suit

NORTH MIAMI, FLA. (WSVN) - After the shooting of his behavioral therapist nearly a year ago, the family of a man with autism has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the City of North Miami and some of its police officers.

This comes after North Miami Police Officer Jonathan Aledda was charged with attempted manslaughter, earlier this year.

Aledda is accused of shooting Charles Kinsey, an unarmed behavioral therapist, on July 18, 2016.

Kinsey was shot as he was lying on the ground with his hands in the air. He could be heard explaining to police that he was a behavioral therapist who was attempting to tend to his patient, 27-year-old Arnaldo Rios.

Rios had wandered away from his care facility and was playing with a silver toy truck, which officers and bystanders believed was a gun.

“I don’t even think that they viewed Arnaldo Rios-Soto as a human,” said the family’s attorney, Matthew Dietz, while speaking with reporters, Monday afternoon.

The Disability Independence Group has filed a civil suit against the City of North Miami and five police officers on behalf of Rios and his mother, Gladys Soto.

Video of a police interrogation shows officers asking Rios questions about the incident. The footage shows Rios responding “yes” to nearly every question asked, or simply repeating what was asked.

Interrogator: “What did you have in your hand?”

Arnaldo Rios: “Yeah.”

Interrogator: “Was it shiny?”

Arnaldo Rios: “Shiny?”

Interrogator: “Or was it black?”

Arnaldo Rios: “Black.”

Interrogator: “Was it red?”

Arnaldo Rios: “Red?”

Interrogator: “Or was it blue?”

Arnaldo Rios: “Blue.”

Rios’ sister, Miriam Rios, and his mother saw the three-and-a-half-minute video for the first time, Monday morning. “It broke my heart,” said Miriam.

“Arnaldo is purely trusting in that video,” said Dietz. “He wanted to help as much as he could, and he was being blamed for something horrific.”

Interrogator: “Did you want to hurt anyone?”

Arnaldo Rios: “Yeah.”

Interrogator: “Who did you want to hurt?”

Arnaldo Rios: “Uh huh.”

The lawsuit alleges that even though police knew Rios had a toy truck in his hands when the shooting happened, Rios was handcuffed and held in a police car for hours before being questioned by police.

“I’m just upset that in this day and age you still can’t tell? It was so obvious he has a disability,” said Miriam.

The lawsuit, seeking damages and compensation in excess of $250,000, also claims that the actions of the city and its officers “stripped” Rios of his “civil rights and human rights.”

The City of North Miami released a statement, Monday afternoon, that read in part, “While the City of North Miami is aware of the complaint, we have not yet been served. However, once we are served, comments will be limited due to ongoing litigation.”

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