AVENTURA, Fla. - A man who was shot by a North Miami police officer last week met Thursday with the autistic man for whom he was caring at Aventura Hospital.
Arnaldo Rios, 26, remains in the hospital's psychiatric ward after the July 18 shooting of Charles Kinsey.
"First of all, I want to thank everybody for their support (from) all over the world," Kinsey told reporters outside the hospital. "I understand that this is a very big issue. It's not about me, and it's not about Arnaldo either. It's about our country and how we're struggling right now."
Kinsey acknowledged that the shooting has caused increased tensions, but called for everyone to remain peaceful.
"Just be peaceful. Although I am unable to answer specific questions, I promise that I will do so in a matter of time," Kinsey said. "When I heard about Arnaldo was in the hospital I was very sad. I wanted to come and visit him before I did anything."
Kinsey, a mental health caregiver at the Miami Achievement Center for the Developmentally Disabled, said Rios appeared to be doing well and said he was happy to see him.
"It really touched me to see him doing well," Kinsey said. "He is doing very well and he was very happy to see me. He gave a real big hug and I sat with him for about 10 or 15 minutes, and that was it. So my heart is content. As long as he's fine, I'm OK."
Kinsey told reporters that he is still dealing with the traumatic effects of being shot in the leg by a police officer.
"Physically, I'm here. But mentally, I'm distraught, you know," Kinsey said. "I have to play these tapes in my head every day. I can't sleep at night. I'm just thinking this could have went the other way. You know, I'm truly blessed to be here."
Rios' attorney, Matthew Dietz, submitted a formal letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch this week, asking that the U.S. Department of Justice investigate the handling of his client by police.
In the letter, Dietz said North Miami police violated his client's rights as a "person with a disability to be safe within his community."
Rios' mother told reporters that her son is suffering from emotional distress after witnessing the shooting of Kinsey and being apprehended for hours by police.
"He is going to need patience and love," Gladys Soto said Thursday after Kinsey spoke.
Rios' mother was also happy for the men to reunite, saying that her son was happy to see Kinsey.
"They hugged each other tight and Arnaldo cried a little, but he felt good with Charles," she said.
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.
Kinsey was shot once in the leg by Officer Jonathon Aledda. The Dade Police Benevolent Association president said Aledda was trying to protect Kinsey from Rios because he believed that Rios was armed.
Police said they were initially called to the area of Northwest 14th Avenue and 127th Street about a man who was walking around with a gun and threatening to commit suicide.
Aledda has been placed on administrative leave with pay.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting. The investigation is expected to take between 45 and 60 days.
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