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Monday, Nov 30, 2020

US: A 6-Year-Old Girl Cried As She Was Restrained And Arrested, New Police Video Shows

The Orlando police officer who initiated the arrest was later fired from the department.
A body camera video released this week shows Orlando police officers arresting a 6-year-old, restraining her hands behind her back, at her school as she cries to be let go.

He was white and she was black, obviously.

Officer Dennis Turner arrested Kaia Rolle, a first-grader, on a battery charge in September after her grandmother Meralyn Kirkland said she threw a tantrum at Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy in Orlando. The treatment of the girl drew widespread criticism, the Orlando Police Department apologized, and Turner was fired days later.

Now, the video, which was provided to BuzzFeed News by the family's attorneys, shows how the arrest happened. Turner, who was on duty as a school resource officer at the time, enters an office where Kaia is seated with a school employee and tells her to stand up.

"Come over here," Turner says.

"What are those for?" Kaia asks, referring to zip ties.

"It's for you," Turner responds.

"Give your hands, OK?" another officer says. "Come over here, honey."

Kaia begins to cry as the officer ties her hands behind her back, screaming, "No, no, don't put handcuffs on."

She continues to cry, pleading to be let go as the officers lead her out of the school.

"I don't want to go in the police car," she sobs.

"You don't want to," the officer says. "You have to."

"No, please. No, please, give me a second chance," Kaia cries. "Please, please just let me go."

On the same day that Kaia was arrested, officials said Turner arrested a second 6-year-old at school in a separate incident. According to the police department, he did not follow its policy requiring approval from a watch commander for the arrest of any children under the age of 12.

Turner wrote in an arrest report that the girl in the bodycam video had punched and kicked school employees, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

After leaving her in the car with the other officer, Turner returns to the school building where a woman staff member asks if the restraints are necessary.

"Yes," Turner responds, the video shows. "Uh, and if she was bigger, she would've been wearing regular handcuffs."

He then tells the staff member that the youngest kid he's ever arrested was a 7-year-old who was stealing from Albertson's and "thought it was a joke."

"Seven is the youngest. She's 8, isn't she?" the officer asks. The woman says she's 6.

"She's 6? Now she has broken the record. She broke the record," the officer said.

Shortly after the incident, Kirkland told NBC affiliate WLFA her granddaughter was handcuffed, fingerprinted, and had mugshots taken before she was released from custody.

“No 6-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 a juvenile center to be fingerprinted, mug shot,” Kirkland said in September.

An attorney with the Smith & Eulo Law Firm, which is representing the girl's family, told BuzzFeed News Tuesday that Kaia has since been enrolled in a different school and is meeting with a counselor on a weekly basis. The firm filed a notice of intent to sue against the city of Orlando in November.

In a statement Tuesday, Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón said that in addition to firing Turner, the department has implemented changes to prevent this from happening again, including now requiring arrests of children under the age of 12 to be approved by a deputy chief.

"As a Grandfather myself, I understand how traumatic this incident was for the children and everyone involved," Rolón said.
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