A police officer from Florida has been fired after he arrested two young school kids on suspicion of misdemeanor battery charges, prompting an internal investigation and uproar.
Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon said that the occurrence made him ‘sick to stomach’ as he learned the 6-year-old boy and girl, students at Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy, were placed in the back of the police car.
He said at a news conference: “When I first learned about this, we were all appalled and we could not fathom the idea of a 6-year-old being put in the back of a police car.
“It’s still shocking to us. … To have something like this happen was completely and totally a surprise to all of us.”
Officer Dennis Turner was working as a school resource officer when he arrested the children during separate cases. He handcuffed them with zip ties before bringing them to the police station.
Officials suspended Officer Turner and started an internal investigation.
Rolon said that there is a policy that ‘strictly prohibits’ officer from arresting children under the age of 12 until they get manager’s approval.
Turner previously said that one of the school kids was 8 years old but the chief corrected him and said they are both only six.
“It was clear today when I came into work that there was no other remedy than to terminate this officer,” Rolon said.
Apopka police said that the officer in question abused the 6-year-old boy after he brought home a bad report from school but Turner defended his actions in an interview.
He said: “Don’t let this stop you from disciplining your children.”
Before the incidents, Turner already became the subject of two other internal investigations, according to the Sentinel.
In 2003, he threatened the husband of the woman he had been dating, and in 2016, Turner used excessive force during an arrest. That same year, he tased a man 5 times even after he ‘had stopped resisting.’
The 6-year-old girl’s grandmother told WFTV that her grandchild has a medical condition, sleep apnea. Because of her tiredness, she sometimes acts out in class. The girl reportedly kicked a staff member during her tantrums.
The 6-year-old boy was released before he was officially processed at the juvenile assessment center.
Aramis Ayala, state attorney for Orange and Osceola counties, said: “I can assure you that there will be no criminal prosecution for a misdemeanor battery for these elementary children in my name or on my watch. Unlike some, I will not presume guilt or dangerousness of a child based on any demographic.”
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