ORLANDO, Fla. – Administrators at the school where two 6-year-old children were arrested say they didn't want the children to be taken into custody.
An attorney representing Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy released a statement Tuesday about the arrests and the firing of school resource officer Dennis Turner from the Orlando Police Department.
Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon said Turner violated department policy when he arrested the children without obtaining permission from a watch commander, which is required for anyone under 12.
"In regards to recently reported events at Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy, Officer Turner's decision to arrest two of our students was done despite the Principal's request not to do so.
We fully support the Orlando Police Department's decision to replace Officer Turner who was previously stationed on campus, with another law enforcement officer as mandated by State statute.
The School will continue to work closely with Orange County Public Schools to provide support to the child, and is cooperating with law enforcement investigators regarding the incident.
Due to this being an active investigation and to adhere to state and federal laws regarding privacy of the student, the School has no further comment at this time," the statement read.
Turner arrested Kaie Rolle, 6, and a 6-year-old boy at Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy on Thursday in unrelated incidents. Both children faced misdemeanor battery charges, but State Attorney Aramis Ayala said Monday that she would not prosecute the cases.
Rolle's grandmother, Meralyn Kirkland, said her granddaughter had a temper tantrum due to a medical condition that disrupts her sleep. She claimed the girl kicked a staff member at the school during the meltdown.
She said Kaia's still recovering from the trauma associated with being handcuffed, fingerprinted and having her mugshot taken. She hopes the department does better in the future.
"Kaia has had nightmares. She has had two nightmares back-to-back, she is now fully sleeping in my bedroom," Kirkland said.
Rolon apologized for the arrests, saying he was sick to his stomach when he heard the news. He said he plans to make sure officers are fully aware of the department's policy when it comes to arresting juveniles.
"We were all appalled. We could not fathom the idea of a 6-year-old being put in the back of a police car and to be honest with you, it's still shocking to us," Rolon said.
Records show that Turner worked for the Orlando Police Department for 23 years before retiring in 2018. His personnel file shows Turner was hired as a temporary/seasonal employee on July 15 for $33 per hour.
His contract with OPD was for a one-year period ending on July 29, 2020.
However, the contract states that nothing in the agreement can prevent the city from terminating officer Turner earlier than that date, which is why Rolon was able to fire Turner on Monday.