Monday, February 25, 2019

AfterEffect: Against The Erasure of Arnaldo Rios Soto

Arnaldo Rios Soto, a Latinx male presenting autistic man with dark curly hair
wearing a gray t-shirt is holding a brown and tan teddy bear and smiling at the
Today, the police officer who shot Charles Kinsey goes on trial. I read a news report describing how Mr. Kinsey has not recovered from the trauma of being an unarmed Black man doing his job and trying to tend to his client and explain to the police that he and his client were unarmed and trying to cooperate. The police officer claimed he was not trying to shoot Mr. Kinsey. He wanted to shoot his autistic client, Arnaldo Rios Soto instead.

It is important to note that police radio notified officers that Arnaldo was holding a toy, and officers 20 feet away did not feel under threat. Quoting Mr. Rios Soto's attorney, Matthew Dietz, in the Miami Herald:

 “I can’t believe that every other officer heard on the radio that it was a toy,” Dietz said. Aledda “aimed, but couldn’t hit a 250-pound man sitting cross-legged on the ground, and he’s a SWAT member? If he was aiming at Arnaldo, he’s the worst shot in the world.”

Arnaldo was a passing mention in the story of the aftermath of this tragedy. In fact, the story of what happens to Arnaldo is told in heartbreaking detail on the podcast Aftereffect, which you can listen to by clicking this link:

There were two victims of color that day, Mr. Kinsey and Arnaldo Soto. One was an African American carer, the other was his Latinx and autistic client. There shouldn't be a hierarchy of victims that makes the victim struck by the bullet intended for the other the main protagonist in this horror story. I find it sad but not surprising that this news article uses the power of words to leave Arnaldo a voiceless footnote in his own tragedy.

Arnaldo has paid a devastating price for wanting to take a walk away from his group home. He was targeted because he was autistic and wandering in the street on a route usually taken with Mr. Kinsey, clutching his toy truck.  Arnaldo was unjustly arrested, he was placed in the mental health equivalent of hell for too long. Despite his story having a happy ending of sorts (I mean, he's still in a group home), the memories of that day will haunt Arnaldo for the rest of his life, just as they haunt Charles Kinsey.

I think we need to remind the media that today, the police officer who alleged he aimed to shoot Arnaldo Rios Soto, an autistic young man of color, missed and shot his support staff member, Mr. Charles Kinsey, instead.

Read more about Arnaldo, Autism, and catastrophic encounters with law enforcement:
The low key ableist news article:
Other references

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