Rios-Soto Press Release

For More Information Contact:

Matthew W. Dietz, Esq.
Litigation Director

MIAMI, FL — On June 5, 2017, Disability Independence Group, Inc. filed a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of Gladys Soto and her son, Arnaldo Rios-Soto, for the flagrant disregard of Mr. Rios-Soto’s rights as a person with a disability. Matthew Dietz, Esq., and Arnaldo Rios-Soto’s mother, Gladys Soto, will be giving a press conference at 2:00 PM on June 5 at the offices of Colson Hicks Eidson, located at 255 Alhambra Circle, Penthouse, Coral Gables, FL.

Arnaldo Rios-Soto is the 27 year old Autistic Man who was involved in the North Miami shooting on July 18, 2016. Arnaldo was sitting in the middle of the street by his group home with his favorite toy truck, rocking back and forth. His hand movements and rocking behavior was self-soothing behavior that is not unusual for an Autistic person. His behavioral technologist, Charles Kinsey, was trying to get him to go back to the home. Eighty-five seconds after it was announced on the police radio that Mr. Rios-Soto had a toy, Officer Jonathan Aledda aimed his rifle at Arnaldo Rios-Soto, and shot Charles Kinsey. Like everyone, Arnaldo’s family saw the video of Charles Kinsey lying on the street with his arms raised attempting to protect Arnaldo. Until last week, it was believed that Arnaldo was held in a police car for over three hours, until he was returned to the group home.

Last week, after reviewing the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigative materials, we learned that during the three hours after the incident, North Miami stripped away Arnaldo Rios-Soto’s civil rights and human rights. Even though it was known that Mr. Rios-Soto had a toy, he was arrested and handcuffed at gunpoint, held in police vehicles for hours, and then repeatedly questioned, and interrogated at the police station. At all times, each person knew that Arnaldo Rios-Soto had a disability and was not able to respond to questions. Nevertheless, North Miami disregarded the trauma that he had undergone as a victim, and held him solely in an attempt to extract a confession to exonerate Officer Aledda. In doing so, the North Miami Police trampled the bounds of a civilized society and victimized a person who they were obligated to safeguard.

This event should be a clear call to police departments across the nation to learn about the residents with developmental or intellectual disabilities who live in their neighborhoods. For the past ten years, the North Miami Police responded to incidents in Arnaldo’s group home. Instead of obtaining training regarding these disabilities, they arrested, or tazed the residents of the group home. Disability should not be viewed as a crime, people with disabilities should not be assumed to be dangerous or unstable. Stereotypes of persons with disabilities, as well as the stereotypes of caregivers of persons with disabilities led to this shooting.

Arnaldo Rios-Soto is not doing well, and it will take years for him to recover. After the incident, his behavioral needs increased. He went back to the scene of the shooting and was inconsolable. He continues to believe that any person in a uniform is going to hurt him. Now, the only placement option to provide the increased care Arnaldo needs was in an institutionalized placement in central Florida. To this day, he suffers from night terrors and wakes up and screams Police! Police! and screams about the blood. Because of his disabilities, adequate behavioral treatment for the trauma is difficult, and it manifests itself in frequent behavioral incidents. Gladys Soto and her daughter moved from their long time residence in South Florida to Ocala to be near Arnaldo.

Click here to read a copy of the complaint, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and click here to view the custodial interrogation of Arnaldo Rios-Soto.