Family of autistic man questions actions of police in North Miami shooting

Police officer shoots unarmed therapist trying to protect autistic man

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor

MIAMI - The mother and sister of an autistic man who apparently was the intended target of a North Miami police officer's bullet said they are worried about the safety of their 26-year-old family member.

Arnaldo Rios is suffering from emotional distress and has been in a hospital since Monday's shooting of unarmed therapist Charles Kinsey, Miami attorney Matthew Dietz said Saturday at a news conference.

Dietz said Miami has inadequate facilities for people like Rios, and he said the police should have been trained to handle someone with mental illness.

"After they knew that he had autism, what did they do? They threw him on the ground," Dietz said.

Cellphone video shows Kinsey lying on his back with his hands in the air while trying to coax Arnaldo Rios back to a nearby group home. Sitting next to him was Rios, who was holding a toy truck.

Dade County Police Benevolent Association President John Rivera said the officer fired in an effort to keep Kinsey safe, but he missed and accidentally shot Kinsey.

Arnaldo Rios

Charles Kinsey was trying to protect Arnaldo Rios (pictured), who is autistic, when Kinsey was shot by a North Miami police officer.

Miriam Rios said her brother isn't eating or drinking, suffers from night terrors and hasn't been the same since the shooting. Her mother, Gladys Soto, said the experience has been hard on her.

Dietz said Rios viewed Kinsey as a father figure.

The North Miami Police Department identified the officer who pulled the trigger as Jonathon Aledda. The 30-year-old officer has been placed on administrative leave.

A second police officer, Cmdr. Emile Hollant, has been suspended without pay for giving conflicting statements about the circumstances surrounding the controversial shooting of Kinsey, City Manager Larry Spring said.

Charles Kinsey

Sources told Local 10 News that Hollant was the voice on the radio telling dispatchers and other officers that someone had a gun. They said he then lied to investigators, telling them he wasn't even at the scene when the shooting happened.

Spring said a team of people will review all calls and emails and report back to him.

Kinsey, who was struck in the leg, has been released from a hospital. His attorney said the city is hoping to settle the issue with his client as soon as possible.

The NAACP released a statement Saturday calling on the Department of Justice to "routinely investigate" police shootings and seeking an expanded effort from the state attorney's office involving such shootings.

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