In summer 2016, a police shooting upended the life of Arnaldo Rios Soto, a 26-year-old, non-speaking, autistic man. Aftereffect is Arnaldo’s story – a hidden world of psych wards, physical abuse and chemical restraints – and asks the question: How did Arnaldo’s life go so wrong? Aftereffect by Only Human is produced by WNYC Studios, a listener-supported producer of leading podcasts including Radiolab, On the Media, Death, Sex & Money, Nancy and many others. © WNYC Studios
Listen to This: 'The Stakes'
24:09On The Stakes podcast, host Kai Wright and team bring you more stories about inequality, health, and justice... and more. In this episode: implicit bias in medicine brings life or death consequences for black moms and their children. A black woman in America is three to four times more likely to die than a white woman during pregnancy, childbirth, and in the year after the baby's born. As more and more black women share their near death experiences while giving birth, including world tennis champion Serena Williams, we see this reality affecting black woman regardless of education or wealth. So what are black women supposed to do with this information as they think about pregnancy? And can we really eliminate implicit bias? WNYC’s health coverage and The Stakes is supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Jane and Gerald Katcher and the Katcher Family Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
WNYC Studios presents: The Realness
4:39Rap star Prodigy is best known for The Infamous, an album he released when he was just a teenager as half of the venerable Queens duo, Mobb Deep. But as Mobb Deep took over the world, something was happening to Prodigy behind the scenes, a piece of his life set apart from his legendary lyricism and New York realness. A pain so excruciating it could make Prodigy feel like his bones were on fire; a pain that landed him in the Vegas hospital where he died last year. The Realness takes you behind Prodigy’s music to his life with sickle cell anemia, revealing how his condition touched almost every part of his life: from the sound of his rhymes to the circumstances of his death.
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Episode 8: “They call him Cheese”
33:11One day in February, a group of staff packed up Arnaldo's belongings, moved him out of Carlton Palms and into a three-bedroom house in a suburban neighborhood. On its face, it's the type of setting disability advocates strive toward. Arnaldo has his own bedroom, more autonomy, a staff that looks after him. At the moment, Arnaldo is the only resident. He'll eventually share the house with two other men, but just days before the first is slated to join Arnaldo, he dies - under suspicious circumstances in the care of Carlton Palms.
Episode 7: “The man behind an empire”
28:17For decades, Carlton Palms' elusive founder, Ken Mazik, has wielded his power and influence to sway members of Congress and state legislatures into bending the rules in his favor -- from scuttling laws that would limit the use of physical restraints, to securing permission from the state of Florida to amass a fortune in Medicaid funding. As one of his former employees told us, "Ken Mazik made millions of dollars tying up little kids."
Episode 5: “I need to believe”
34:33A year and a half after the shooting, there are signs of trouble at Arnaldo's new home, Carlton Palms. The staff isn't keeping an eye on him. There are unexplained injuries. His mother isn't allowed to see his room and he's being restrained in a full-body mat for getting out of bed at night. And yet, his family continues to hold out hope that this is the right place for him.
Episode 4: “I Baker Act you. You Baker Acted me.”
28:25The day of the shooting wasn't Arnaldo's first encounter with the police. In fact, they'd loomed large in his life for years before that. Even as he bounced from one group home to another, the people that consistently showed up for him, often in the worst way, were the cops. (Aneri Pattani)
Episode 3: “He was definitely a handful”
44:36Since the beginning, Arnaldo's mother struggled to find adequate care for her autistic son. Her memories are often painful: the doctors who wouldn't diagnose him; the staff who punched him, drugged him, tied his hands behind his back in a classroom chair. These early experiences shaped Arnaldo. In this episode, we talk with a number of people who've cared for him. They recount a sweet, affectionate young man who was also capable of violent outbursts and fits of rage. Hidden beneath Arnaldo's story is a disability-services system starved of funding; facilities trying to squeeze every dollar out of their residents; and staff members willing to restrain their clients by any means necessary.
Episode 2: "Suck It Up, Buttercup"
34:34The shooting left Arnaldo severely traumatized, unable to remain in the group home where Charles Kinsey had taken care of him. Shortly after, Arnaldo was involuntarily committed to a hospital psych ward, where a typical stay of just a few days stretched into well over a month as the state of Florida struggled to find a new home for him. Eventually, Arnaldo finds himself in a new facility with a well-documented track record of abuse and neglect. It's Halloween when we first meet Arnaldo face to face. Ironically, after everything he's endured, the staff have dressed him in a police costume.
Episode 1: "Let me get this on camera"
36:06Just before 5pm on Monday July 18th, 2016, a 26-year old autistic man named Arnaldo Rios Soto walked out of his North Miami home. He had a silver toy truck in his hand. Hours later, his life would be changed forever. A passing motorist mistook Arnaldo's toy for a gun and called 911. Police and SWAT arrived and the confrontation was captured in a cell phone video. The encounter left Arnaldo's behavioral aide - a black man named Charles Kinsey - severely wounded, and it left Arnaldo in need of round-the-clock care. As a result, three police officers lost their jobs, including the now-former North Miami chief of police, Gary Eugene. In his words: "We blew it." Thank you to Sara Luterman of NOS Magazine and reporter Eric Garcia for pointing us to Arnaldo's story. They've written about his journey as well.