Florida school resource officer suspended for arresting children

Charges are being dropped against a 6-year-old girl at an Orange County, Florida school after a school resource officer arrested her and another child last week.

School Resource Officer Dennis Turner, who is part of the Orlando Police Department, charged the children in unrelated incidents. They both faced a charge of misdemeanor battery.

The Florida State Attorney in Orlando, Aramis Ayala announced Monday the charges against both children would be dropped, but an administrative matter was preventing her from immediately dropping the charges against the little boy, who is also 6 years old.

“When it comes to little elementary-aged children we will not negotiate justice, ever,” Ayala said. “Unlike some, I will not presume guilt or dangerousness of a child based upon any demographic.”

The state attorney added she was looking into permanently removing the arrests from the children’s records.

The grandmother of the younger child, Kia, told WKMG Orlando she was outraged when she heard her granddaughter was arrested at school.

“No 6-year-old child should be able to tell someone they had handcuffs on them,” 6-year-old Kia’s grandmother, Meralyn Kirkland said. “How do you do that to a 6-year-old child?”

Kia was arrested at Lucious & Emma Nixon Academy Charter School. Kia, who suffers from sleep apnea and was tired, acted out during class, according to Kirkland. Her actions allegedly resulted in her arrest by the SRO.

The circumstances of the arrest of the 6-year-old boy were not provided.

According to FOX 35 WOFL in Orlando, the officer is now the subject of an internal affairs investigation stemming from the arrests. 

OPD said department policy says a watch commander has to approve the arrest of any person under the age of 12, which was not obtained in this case.

Investigators said the little boy was processed through the juvenile assessment center and released to a family member a short time later.

Kia was released from custody and returned to the school before being processed at the juvenile assessment center, OPD said.