A Florida police officer has been stripped of his badge and gun after he handcuffed, fingerprinted and arrested a six-year-old for acting out in her first-grade class.
Dennis Turner, a 22-year veteran, was fired from the Orlando Police Department following an investigation into the arrest he made of the child. Previous reports stated Turner also arrested an eight-year-old in an unrelated incident. However, the police department clarified both children were six.
Last week, Meralyn Kirkland received a phone call from school officials at Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy stating her granddaughter, Kaia, had been arrested by a school resource officer. Kaia reportedly kicked someone during a tantrum and was then shuttled to the juvenile center where she was charged with battery.
“I said, ‘What do you mean, she was arrested?’ They said there was an incident and she kicked somebody and she’s being charged and she’s on her way,” Kirkland recalled.
The department’s policy requires officers receive permission from their supervisor before making an arrest of anyone younger than 12. Turner didn’t do that. Kirkland explained to local outlet WKMG-TV that Kaia’s behavior was due to a medical condition which caused sleep apnea. Turner reportedly didn’t care.
“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 said.
In a statement, Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón said he was “sick to his stomach” by Turner’s actions. The charges against the children have been dropped.
Statement from OPD Chief Orlando Rolón. pic.twitter.com/qd7msBx0Fw
— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) September 23, 2019