Key Florida House committee passes ‘Kaia Rolle Act’ aimed at preventing arrest of young kids

Act part of a larger police reform bill

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida House Judiciary Committee moved a police training bill forward Thursday which includes a provision preventing the arrest of children 7 years old and younger.

The provision is called the “Kaia Rolle Act,” named after a 6-year-old girl who was arrested at Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy in Orlando in 2019.

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The charges against the girl were later dropped and the officer who arrested her was fired from the Orlando Police Department. The body camera video, showing the girl in zip-tie restraints and place in the back of a cruiser, sparked outrage in the community.

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“It’s distressing. I know Kaia Rolle has been going through a lot since that incident, but we’re trying to right that wrong and this is a good moment,” said Senator Randolph Bracy.

The “Kaia Rolle Act” was previously introduced during last year’s legislative session by Senator Bracy, but the bill died in the Criminal Justice Committee. That version would have prevented arrests of children 10 and younger.

[READ THE BILL HERE]

The new version is part of a much larger police reform bill. The bill would set new standards for law enforcement hiring. The legislation would also set new standards for training practices, particularly when it comes to use of force by officers and de-escalation techniques. This includes requiring officers to intervene if they witness another officer using excessive force.

The bill goes on to set standards for investigations into use of force and would also create a database of each law enforcement agency’s use of force every quarter.

The legislation has received unanimous support from the Florida Sheriff’s Association.

It now moves to the full House for a vote and it must clear the Florida Senate before reaching the governor’s desk.

“It’s really about time,” said Bracy. “We’ve been waiting on the house to join forces with the senate and now that’s finally happened. I’m confident the bill will pass the House and Senate soon.”

The legislative session is set to end on April 30.


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