An employee at Lucious & Emma Nixon Academy asked Officer Dennis Turner of the Orlando Police Department if putting a crying six-year-old Kaia Rolle in zip ties was necessary. He said it was, and added “she would have been wearing regular handcuffs” if she was bigger.
Turner, however, did not stop there.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, he then went ahead to brag about his arrest record of 6000 people which included a seven-year-old. When school employees told him Kaia was younger, he did not care.
“Now she has broken the record,” he said.
The incident occurred in September 2019 when Turner, together with a partner were called to the school after Kaia, a first grader suffering from sleep apnea, got into a tantrum and allegedly kicked and punched three school employees.
Kaia, who had calmed down and was in the company of a school employee by the time the officers got to the room where she was being held, was arrested, the video of the incident that was shared by her family to the Orlando Sentinel shows. Another six-year-old student was also arrested in a separate incident.
“What are those for?” Kaia asks, to which Turner replies: “They’re for you.”
“No … no, don’t put handcuffs on!” she emotionally pleads. Crying, she asks for help as the officers continue with the arrest and then escort her to the police SUV.
While being led to the car, she continues to cry.
“I don’t wanna go in a police car,” she says, but the second unidentified police officer replies: “You don’t want to? … You have to.”
Kaia pleads for a second chance but the officers are unconcerned. Kaia was charged with misdemeanor battery and transported to a juvenile detention center despite protests from the school administrators.
A police report of the incident also stated that one of the school employees who was allegedly attacked by Kaia wanted to press charges and testify against her in court, WESH reports. A spokesperson for the school, however, told the news platform that was false and they neither wanted to press charges nor have Kaia arrested.
“We care about the well-being of our students. The officer’s statements are inaccurate. We did not ask for either student to be arrested, neither did we want to pursue criminal charges,” the spokesperson said.
Kaia’s charges were dropped a day after her arrest.
In the aftermath of the incident which drew widespread outrage, Turner was fired by the Orlando Police Department after authorities confirmed he did not follow the approved departmental policy of seeking approval from a watch commander before arresting children under 12 years old.
Kaia’s arrest was, however, legal as there is currently no minimum arrest age in Florida – something Kaia’s grandmother, Meralyn Kirkland, wants amended, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
A traumatizing situation for her granddaughter, Kirkland, who also wants to see school resource officers undergo more training on handling young children, called out Turner for boasting about arresting young children.
“You’re discussing traumatizing a 6- and 7-year-old — and that’s a boasting right for you? These are babies,” she said.
This isn’t the first time Turner has had disciplinary issues. He was served a written reprimand for excessive force after tasing a man five times in 2017 – with the final two coming after the suspect was on the ground and not resisting.
He was also charged with aggravated child abuse in 1998 after welts and bruises were found on his then seven-year-old son’s arms and chest.