NORTH MIAMI, Fla. - The attorney of an autistic man who was allegedly targeted by North Miami police in a shooting last week has submitted a formal letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, asking that the U.S. Department of Justice investigate the handling of his client by police.
In the letter, attorney Matthew Dietz said that North Miami police violated his client's rights as a "person with a disability to be safe within his community."
Arnaldo Rios' mother spoke to reporters over the weekend, saying that her 26-year-old son is suffering from emotional distress. He has been at Aventura Hospital since the July 18 shooting of Charles Kinsey, a mental health caregiver at the Miami Achievement Center for the Developmentally Disabled.
"While Mr. Kinsey was released from the hospital bed, Arnaldo Rios was not," Dietz wrote in the letter. "He remains in the psychiatric ward where he is inappropriately placed and segregated from the community."
Dietz said his client was hospitalized after officers at the scene of the shooting told the director of the group home that Rios "was acting loopy" and talking about Disney characters.
Dietz also expressed concern for his client's well-being at the group home, saying he had been injured there before, but that it is the only group home in the county that offers intensive behavioral therapy for people with autism.
"The group home staff restrained Arnaldo after he wanted to see July Fourth fireworks, and he was later hospitalized with bruises on his body, a broken nose and fractured finger," Dietz wrote. "However, according to the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities, there is no other placement for autistic persons who need such therapy in Miami-Dade County. With the traumatic events occurring by this group home, there is no possibility of Arnaldo returning, even if MACtown did provide the necessary therapy for him."
Police said they were called to the area of Northwest 14th Avenue and 127th Street on July 18 about a man who was walking around with a gun and threatening to commit suicide.
Cellphone video shows Kisney lying on the ground with his hands up, telling officers that he was Rios' caregiver and that Rios was only holding a toy truck.
Kinsey was shot once in the leg by Officer Jonathon Aledda, whom the Dade Police Benevolent Association president said was actually trying to protect Kinsey from Rios because he believed Rios was armed.
Aledda has been placed on administrative leave with pay as is standard in a police-involved shooting.
A second police officer, Cmdr. Emile Hollant, was placed on leave without pay, because investigators said he gave inconsistent accounts of the shooting.
Sources told Local 10 News that Hollant was the voice on the police radio telling dispatch and other officers that someone had a gun. They said he then lied to investigators, telling them he wasn't at the scene when the shooting happened.
Rios' toy truck was confiscated by police as evidence. Dietz said two toy trucks have been donated to his client.
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