For a few days now, Orlando (USA) police have been caught up in a scandal: a 6-year-old girl was arrested by a police officer, handcuffed and taken to the police station. Her grandmother describes the incident as an unprecedented act of violence, considering the girl's age.
Six-year-old Kaia Rolle, who has a sleep disorder, was particularly agitated in the classroom. The little girl allegedly kicked a school staffer during a temper tantrum. In response to this, the school's principal called the school's resource officers. These officers work with the local police and one of them, named Dennis Turner, decided to arrest the girl.
Kaia was almost detained
What's even more devastating is that Kaia was almost taken to a juvenile assessment centre, which is a kind of detention centre for children. The officer in charge of transporting the girl interrupted the proceedings upon confirmation that Dennis Turner hadn't obtained approval to arrest her.
On the same day, at another school, Dennis Turner also arrested an 8-year-old boy. Unlike Kaia, he was sent to a detention centre and remained there until his family was able to pick him up. Some may consider this child abuse.
A traumatic event for the girl
The local community is outraged by this highly publicized case. “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,” Meralyn Kirkland, Kaia's grandmother, said. She told WKMG that she explained to officer Turner that her granddaughter has a sleep disorder and that her actions were involuntary. To which he replied: "Well, I have sleep apnea and I don't behave like that."
An investigation into Dennis Turner's actions is underway. Turner spent 23 years as a police officer before retiring in June 2018. This isn't the first time he's found himself mired in a child abuse scandal: in 1998, he was charged with abusing his 7-year-old son. Turner was also reprimanded for excessive use of force in 2016. He had used his taser on a man during an arrest.