Orlando police say both arrested children are actually 6 years old
Agency previously ID'd one child as 8; Officer Dennis Turner suspended
ORLANDO, Fla. – UPDATE: Charges have been dropped against both children. Read more here.
The Orlando Police Department issued a correction Monday, saying two children arrested last week at the same school in unrelated incidents are both 6 years old. Orlando police previously identified one of the children as an 8-year-old.
The OPD addressed the mistake in a statement.
"Upon further investigation, it appears that both juveniles were 6 years old. As a result, one 6-year-old was processed and the other 6-year-old was returned to the school and not processed in any way after supervisors became aware of the arrests," the OPD said.
Officer Dennis Turner arrested the students last week in unrelated incidents at Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy. He's been suspended pending an investigation into the arrests.
Per OPD policy, if children are under 12 years old, an officer must get approval from a watch commander to make an arrest.
"The first transport officer was not aware an approval was not obtained, and the (child) was processed through the Juvenile Assessment Center. The child was released to a family member a short time later," Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon said.
According to officials, the second transport officer verified that approval was not obtained and the process for the 6-year-old was stopped immediately.
The child was returned to the school before being processed at the Juvenile Assessment Center.
"The Orlando Police Department has a policy that addresses the arrest of a minor, and our initial finding shows the policy was not followed. As a grandparent of three children less than 11 years old, this is very concerning to me. Our department strives to deliver professional and courteous service. My staff and I are committed to exceeding those standards and expectations," Rolon said.
"No 6-year-old child should be able to tell somebody that they had handcuffs on them,"
Kirkland told News 6.
Kirkland said Kaia is a first-grader at Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy, but she ended up at the Juvenile Detention Center.
Kirkland received a call Thursday saying Kaia was arrested by the school's resource officer.
"I said, 'What do you mean, she was arrested?' They say there was an incident and she kicked somebody and she's being charged and she's on her way," Kirkland said.
Kirkland said Kaia was acting out in class, a side effect due to a lack of sleep because of a medical condition.
"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 added.
Kirkland believes things should have never gone this far involving her granddaughter.
The other child was also taken to the Juvenile Detention Center and was released to family members a short time later. It's not known if the child is a boy or girl.
News 6 has requested a copy of Turner's personnel file and more information about his employment history.
Orlando police tweeted about Turner's retirement in June 2018. The tweet shows Turner (left) standing with then OPD Chief John Mina, who is now the Orange County sheriff.
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