A school resource officer in Orlando, Florida, has had his duties suspended after he arrested two elementary school children, including a six year old he accused of battery when she threw a temper tantrum.
Kaia Rolle was handcuffed and taken to juvenile detention after the incident at Lucious & Emma Nixon Academy, her grandmother claims.
Officer Dennis Turner, who was assigned to work at the school, made the two arrests on Thursday – for unrelated incidents – without following procedure and seeking approval from a watch commander, the Orlando Police Department confirmed.
The department told DailyMail.com that pre-authorization is required under the department’s policy for arresting minors under age 12.
An investigation into Turner’s actions is now underway, and his duties have been suspended.
Turner made two arrests on Thursday, accusing students ages 6 and 8 of misdemeanors.
The names of the children were not released by police due to their ages.
However, the identity of the six-year-old, Kaia Rolle, was made public by Meralyn Kirkland, who said she was the child’s grandmother.
Kirkland came forward because she said she was outraged over the arrest and how it was handled.
‘How do you do that to a 6-year-old child?’ the upset grandmother told WKMG.
Kaia, according to her grandmother, was acting out in class and taken to the school office where she ‘kicked somebody.’
A school staff member had grabbed the young child’s wrists in an attempt to calm her down, and she responded by lashing out and kicking at the person.
That’s when Turner made the arrest. Kaia was handcuffed and put her in the backseat of a squad car, her grandmother said.
‘She’s charged with battery,’ the grandmother says. ‘No 6-year-old should be able to tell somebody that they had handcuffs on them, and they were riding in the back of a police car and taken to a juvenile detention center to be finger-printed and mug shot.’
Kirkland said Kaia had thrown a tantrum at the school because she has sleep apnea, and that she told Turner the family was ‘working to resolve’ the sleep disorder.
‘Well I have sleep apnea and I don’t behave like that,’ the grandmother recalled the officer responding when they spoke about the incident and how it was being handled.
A statement from Orlando Police Department said when it was discovered that the officer had not received authorization to arrest the children, a police supervisor took ‘immediately corrective actions’.
A transport officer, who ‘was not aware an approval was not obtained,’ ended up taking the 8-year-old to the juvenile detention center where the child was processed’and later released to a family member, cops said in a statement.
A second transport officer did verify ‘approval was not obtained and the process for the 6-year-old was stopped immediately,’ and the child was brought back to school, said police.
Police chief Chief Orlando Rolon said: ‘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.’
The department recruits retired cops to work at schools.
Turner had retired from the department last year, according to the department’s Twitter page.