Written by: Jessica Dupree
The state of Florida seems to have many controversial laws in place. From the infamous stand your ground law to not having an age requirement for arrests. This time, elementary school resource officer Dennis Turner arrested two students – age six and eight, leaving a community outraged.
The arrests happened last week when a 6-year-old student at a charter school called Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy kicked an unknown person. Officer Turner arrested and charged the young child with battery. The child’s grandmother told reporters that a mug shot was taken and she was fingerprinted before Turner’s supervisor halted proceedings.
NBC reports Chief of Police, Orlando Rolon, stated permission was not obtained by a commanding officer prior to the arrests that were made on September 19th. “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,” said Rolon.
The 6-year-old’s grandmother, Meralyn Kirkland, told reporters that sleep apnea is the cause of her granddaughter’s behavioral problems.
“They told us we had to wait a few minutes because [she] was being fingerprinted, and when she said fingerprinted it hit me like a ton of bricks … no six-year-old child 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 juvenile center to be fingerprinted, mug shot,” said Kirkland.
“This will not stop,” Rolón said of the investigation. “But at my level, I have the opportunity to be able to exercise that and when I came in today, I knew there was no choice here. He was going to be terminated.”
In a separate incident, an 8-year old student was arrested, processed, and released to a relative.
News of the 6 and 8-year old’s arrests sparked outrage in the community and on social media.