Orlando school resource officer who arrested students under investigation

Officer didn't receive supervisor approval before arrests

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist, Lauren Cervantes - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orlando school resource officer is under an internal investigation after he arrested two elementary school students, ages 6 and 8, during separate incidents Thursday without getting approval from his supervisor.

[UPDATE: Orlando police now say both arrested children are 6 years old]

Sgt. David Baker said in an email to News 6 that Officer Dennis Turner arrested two students, ages 6 and 8, on unrelated misdemeanor charges.

Prior to arresting a minor under 12 years old, officers are required to seek approval from their watch commander, which is department policy. Turner did not do so prior to taking the students in for booking, according to Baker.

"During the arrest process, supervisors became aware of this incident," Baker said.

The 8-year-old was processed at the Juvenile Assessment Center and released to a family member a short time later, police said. The 6-year-old was released from custody and returned to the school prior to being processed at the Juvenile Assessment Center.

Meralyn Kirkland, the grandmother of the 6-year-old girl, told News 6 her granddaughter attends Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy, an Orlando charter school.

She said the 6-year-old was handcuffed and fingerprinted and her mug shots were taken, because of a tantrum that ocurred at school.

Kirkland said her granddaughter has some behavioral issues because of sleep deprivation, something the family has been seeing a therapist to help address.

"When they finally brought her in there, she was shaking like a leaf and she was telling me, 'Grandma,' she says, 'the handcuffs hurt,'" Kirkland said.

Kirkland said her granddaughter was taken in a patrol car Thursday to the Juvenile Assessment Center.

"She kicked somebody yesterday and they're charging her with battery," Kirkland said.

An internal investigation into the arrests is ongoing.

Orange County Public School officials told News 6 the arrests did not happen at a public school. There are several privately operated charter schools in Orlando.

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