Ryan W. Miller and N’dea Yancey-Bragg
Published 10:06 AM EDT Sep 24, 2019
A school resource officer in Florida was fired after he arrested two 6-year-old children on misdemeanor charges, officials say.
Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón said officer Dennis Turner failed to follow department policy that requires officers to obtain approval from a watch commander before arresting minors younger than 12.
Rolón also apologized to the children involved and their families.
“As a grandfather of three children less than 11 years old, I can only imagine how traumatic this was for everyone involved,” Rolón said.
All Orlando police officers were sent a memo reminding them of the department policy concerning the arrest of children under 12 years old, Rolón said.
6-year-old arrested: Grandmother says she threw a tantrum in class
“I understand how this is concerning to you and completely understand why many would question this incident,” Rolón said.
State Attorney Aramis Ayala also said Monday she was dismissing misdemeanor battery charges against both children and that her office would not pursue any charges against them.
“These very young children are to be protected, nurtured, and disciplined in a manner that does not rely on the criminal justice system to do it. Systems are not designed to raise our children,” Ayala said in a Facebook post.
Officials didn’t say what prompted the arrests, but one of the children’s grandmothers told local television station WKMG-TV it was because her granddaughter was acting out in class.
Police originally said the children were 6 years old and 8 years old, but corrected that Monday.
Rolón had previously said the officer transporting one of the children realized approval hadn’t been obtained and stopped the process “immediately.” The child was released back to the school before being processed at the Juvenile Assessment Center.
The other child was arrested in a separate incident. The student was later transported to and processed in a juvenile jail by an officer who was unaware the arrest hadn’t been approved by a superior, Rolón said. The child was released to family members shortly after.
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