Orlando Resource Officer Dennis Turner has been fired after outcry from his arrest of two six-year-olds, a boy and a girl, on the same day. The children were then charged with misdemeanor battery in separate incidents though the charges have since been dropped.
Turner was initially suspended but was then fired because he arrested the six-year-olds without following protocol. Under protocol, he should have gotten approval from a supervisor for any arrest of a minor younger than 12.
“On behalf of myself and the entire Orlando Police Department, I apologize to the children involved and their families,” Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón said during a news conference Monday. “As a grandfather of three children less than 11 years old, I can only imagine how traumatic this was for everyone involved.”
State Attorney Aramis D. Ayala said that her office didn’t mean to prosecute and was not participating in the “school-to-prison pipeline” perpetuated by Turner.
“I refuse to knowingly play any role in the school-to-prison pipeline at any age,” Ayala told The Washington Post. “These very young children are to be protected, nurtured and disciplined in a manner that does not rely on the criminal justice system to do it.”
Although the police department hasn’t released any details about the incidents or the children, Meralyn Kirkland told WKMG on Friday that her granddaughter, Kaia Rolle, was one of the children arrested by Turner at the Lucious & Emma Nixon Academy, a charter school in the Orange County Public Schools district.
“I say, ‘What do you mean she was arrested?’” Kirkland said. There was “an incident,” she recalled the caller saying — Kaia “kicked somebody and she’s being charged.”
Kaia was arrested after she had a tantrum in class because her sleep apnea didn’t let her get sleep the night before.
After this incident, it has come to light that Turner was allowed to be a resource officer despite the fact that he was arrested and charged with abusing his 7-year-old son and tasered a man five times even though he was already on the floor.