He Arrested 2 6-Year-Olds. Now, the Police Chief's Decision

Dennis Turner terminated after 2 separate incidents at same school in Orlando
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2019 7:11 AM CDT

A school resource officer in Orlando who was suspended after arresting two young children last week has been fired. Orlando police are required to get a supervisor's approval before arresting any minor younger than 12 years old, but Dennis Turner didn't do that on Thursday when he took into custody two 6-year-olds at the Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy charter school: a still unnamed boy (initially identified as being 8) and Kaia Rolle, who'd reportedly had a tantrum in class and kicked someone. Police say both were charged with misdemeanor battery, per the Washington Post; charges against both have been dropped. "When I came in today, I knew there was no choice here. He was going to be terminated," Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon said Monday at a presser, apologizing to the children and their families and noting an investigation will continue, per NBC News.

"I was sick to my stomach when I heard this," he added, per the Post. "We were all appalled." Meralyn Kirkland, Kaia's grandmother, told WKMG on Friday that Kaia has sleep apnea, which led to a lack of sleep that contributed to her misbehavior. "How do you do that to a 6-year-old child ... because she kicked somebody?" Kirkland says of Kaia's arrest. Kaia told the station, "I felt sad that my grandma was sad." Meanwhile, State Attorney Aramis Ayala says her office was never going to prosecute: "I refuse to knowingly play any role in the school-to-prison pipeline at any age." Turner, now retired from the Orlando Police Department, once received a written reprimand for using excessive force on a man he'd Tasered in 2016. The Orlando Sentinel reported he was charged with abusing his own 7-year-old son; the charges were eventually dropped and he was disciplined internally. (More Florida stories.)

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