Mother of autistic man victimized in North Miami police-involved shooting files federal lawsuit

Video shows handcuffed Arnaldo Rios being questioned by detective

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor, Carlos Suarez - Anchor/Reporter

NORTH MIAMI, Fla. - The mother of an autistic man whom she claims was victimized in a controversial police-involved shooting in North Miami filed a federal lawsuit Monday in Miami-Dade County.

The lawsuit was filed against the city of North Miami, as well as Officer Jonathon Aledda, who is accused of shooting the then-27-year-old's caretaker. Officers Kevin Warren, Angel Requejado and Kevin Crespo, as well as Detective Michael Gaudio, are also named in the complaint.

The complaint alleges that Arnaldo Rios was held by police for several minutes for questioning after the July 18, 2016, shooting, although he was obviously not capable of properly communicating with them about the events of the shooting.

Video of the questioning shows Rios, who was handcuffed, answering "yeah" to every question that a detective asked.

"Do you remember what happened?" the detective asked.

"Yeah," Rios said.

"What happened?" the detective asked. "Can you tell me?"

"Yeah," Rios said.

"Go ahead and tell me," the detective asked.

"Yeah," Rios said.  

At one point, Rios asks that the handcuffs be removed. 

Rios' sister, mother and family attorney said officers had no legal right to detain him and did little to address his developmental disorder.

"As a sister, I felt like I couldn't protect him, and then I saw my mom broke down and then I felt like I couldn't protect her and that pressure of seeing your family so vulnerable," Miriam Rios said. 

Cellphone video shows Rios' caretaker, Charles Kinsey, lying on his back shortly before the shooting with his hands in the air in the area of Northeast 14th Avenue and Northeast 127th Street. Rios was sitting next to him, holding a toy truck.

Police said they were called to the area about a man who was walking around with a gun and threatening to commit suicide.

Kinsey is heard in the video telling officers that he is unarmed.

Authorities said Aledda was behind a car, 152 feet away from the scene, when he shot Kinsey.

Kinsey, who was Rios' behavioral therapist at the Miami Achievement Center for the Developmentally Disabled, survived the shooting.

Rios' family attorney said Rios spent a month after the shooting in a psych ward in Aventura and has since moved to Mt. Dora to live. 

He said Rios' cost of care has risen in excess of $250,000. 

Kinsey has also filed a lawsuit against Aledda, seeking damages for the "pain and suffering, mental anguish and emotional distress" he suffered as a result of the shooting.

Aledda was charged in the shooting earlier this year and faces up to five years in prison if he is convicted of attempted manslaughter and up to a year in prison if he is found guilty of culpable negligence.

Rios' mother is seeking a judgment on behalf of her son for "compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorney's fees, prejudgment interest and any further relief the court deems equitable and just."

The complaint seeks a jury trial.

"The City of North Miami is aware of the federal lawsuit filed on behalf of Mr. Arnaldo Rios, who was present during the July 18, 2016, shooting of his mental health therapist, by a North Miami police officer," a city spokeswoman said in a statement. "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. Additionally, the City continues to actively investigate the shooting incident internally; and must therefore, remain sensitive to the right to due process afforded to all involved." 


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