A Florida police officer has been fired for arresting two 6-year-olds who threw a typically childhood temper tantrum.
School resource officer, Dennis Turner, was fired on Monday, the Orlando police department confirmed. His termination stems from two separate incidents last week where Turner arrested two small children at a charter school after they threw tantrums. One 6-year-old girl was charged with misdemeanor battery and had her mugshot taken.
However, the department’s policy states a cop must receive approval from the watch commander before apprehending anyone under the age of 12, hence Turner’s termination. On Monday, September 23, Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón announced there is “no choice” but to fire Turner, due to his violation of department policy.
Ex-Orlando, FL officer Dennis Turner has been fired. HOW will Turner be held accountable; exactly what did Turner *say & *do to these TWO extremely impressionable 6 year old children? This needs formal #investigation, @OrlandoPolice. #policeabuseandaccountability @UNPOintl https://t.co/N8VldWirWi— Ungaro (MDU) (@ungaro) September 24, 2019
“This will not stop,” said Rolón about the decision to fire Turner. “But at my level, I have the opportunity to be able to exercise that and when I came in today, I knew there was no choice here. He was going to be terminated.”
Turner was initially suspended pending an internal investigation.
“The Orlando Police Department has a policy that addresses the arrest of a minor and our initial finding shows the policy was not followed,” said Rolón in a statement on September 22, according to NBC News. “As a grandparent of three children less than 11 years old this is very concerning to me.”
6-year-old Kaia Rolle was arrested after throwing a tantrum at Lucious and Emma Nixon Elementary Charter School. Her grandmother, Meralyn Kirkland, received a call from the school that Kaia had been arrested and taken to the juvenile detention center on Thursday, September 19.
“I said, ‘What do you mean, she was arrested?,’ recalled Kirkland. “They said there was an incident and she kicked somebody and she’s being charged and she’s on her way.”
At the time, a staff member tried to grab Rolle’s wrists when she responded by kicking them, WTSP reports. The child was handcuffed and placed in the backseat of a cop car where she was later charged with battery, according to NBC News.
“She has a medical condition that we are working on getting resolved, and he says, ‘What medical condition?’ ‘She has a sleep disorder, sleep apnea,’ and he says, ‘Well, I have sleep apnea, and I don’t behave like that.’”
“No 6-year-old child should be able to tell somebody that they had handcuffs on them and they were riding in the back of a police car and taken to a juvenile center to be fingerprinted, mug shot.”
“He says, ‘What medical condition?’ ‘She has a sleep disorder, sleep apnea,’ and he says, ‘Well, I have sleep apnea, and I don’t behave like that,’” Kirkland described.
The small girl was about to get processed at the detention center before a supervisor caught wind of her arrest and allowed her to return to school. In the second instance, Turner arrested a young boy at the same charter school.
Both children’s records will be wiped clean, State Attorney Aramis Ayala confirmed. Officer Rolón apologized to the children and their families and described how the incidents made him “sick to his stomach.”