A reserve officer at the Orlando Police Department was terminated on Monday after arresting two 6-year-old children last week without proper approval, according to Orlando Chief Rolon.
6-year-old children, one boy and one girl, are facing charges of battery misconduct but will not be prosecuted, Aramis Ayla, the attorney general who serves Orange County, Florida, told a news conference Monday.
The State's Attorney's Office never intended to prosecute the children, but could not dismiss the girl's allegations until Monday, Ms Ayala said. The boy's charges will be dismissed after he has been assigned a case number, she added.
Authorities did not release the children's names, but Maralin Kirkland told local WKMG television station that her 6-year-old granddaughter Kaya was arrested after having an intrigue in which she kicked a member of the school staff.
"I was sick in my stomach when I heard that," said Chief Rolon. "We couldn't realize the idea of putting a 6-year-old in the back of a police car."
Dennis Turner works as a school resource officer at Lucy and Emma Nixon Academy, a charter school that caters to kindergarten students class when he arrested the children on separate incidents on Thursday. He has been assigned to the reserve officer program, which consists of retired officers, The Orlando Sentinel reported.
Officer Turner arrests the children, despite the principal's request not to do so, school lawyer Sean Arnold said in a statement.
The department's policy requires officers to obtain approval from a supervisory authority in the arrest of anyone under the age of 12, which Officer Turner failed to do in both arrests.
Police officers said Sunday that Officer Turner was removed immediately after the two arrests, ie. pending an investigation into his actions. Officer Turner served in the police force for 23 years and retired in June 2018 according to the department .
He was charged with aggravated child abuse in 1998 in connection with his 7-year-old son, i. The Orlando Sentinel has announced. He was suspended pending the outcome of the investigation, The Sentinel reported, but the outcome of the case was unclear on Monday.
In 2016, Officer Turner was reprimanded for using excessive force after stunning a man five times with a Taser during an arrest, the newspaper reported.
Officer Turner did not respond to calls seeking comment on Monday.
At a news conference Monday, Chief Rolon said he had not spoken directly with Officer Turner, but that the investigation into his behavior would continue to unfold despite his termination.
The police chief acknowledged that the arrests of children had damaged trust between the community and its staff.
"On behalf of myself and the entire Orlando Police Department, I apologize to the children involved and their families," he said.
same. Ayala, the state's attorney, said this was not the first time she had seen a 6-year-old arrested. Florida leads the nation in juvenile arrests, and Orange County leads the state, she says.
"This is not a reflection of children, but rather a reflection of a broken system that needs reform," Ms Ayala said.
Walter Gilliam, Professor of Child Psychiatry and Psychology at the Yale University Center for the Study of Children, said the idea of arresting every 6-year-old child was ridiculous.
"In this case, someone made the decision to contact an employee instead of a guidance counselor, social worker or school psychologist," said Dr. Gilliam. "Children are seen as a crime rather than clearly in need of support."
When children are dropped out of school in the early elementary years, they have poor experience with school afterwards, said Dr. Gilliam.
"The purpose of schools is to help children," he adds, "and if we expel children who need help, why are we here first?"