A school resource officer was fired after arresting two 6-year-old students last week, Orlando police said Monday.
Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón announced that school resource officer Dennis Turner was terminated as a result of arresting the two children without the approval of a commanding officer. An investigation is still underway into the incident.
“This will not stop,” the chief said of the probe. “But at my level, I have the opportunity to be able to exercise that and when I came in today, I knew there was no choice here. He was going to be terminated.”
Turner was a reserve officer, meaning he served at the will of the chief and could be fired before the end of an investigation, according to Rolón.
Rolón also said that he has reminded officers of the department policy that requires officers to get approval before arresting any child under the age of 12.
A 6-year-old girl was charged with battery after she kicked someone at Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy, a K-5th grade charter school in Orlando.
The girl’s grandmother, Meralyn Kirkland, attributed her behavioral problems to sleep apnea, according to the station. Her arrest was stopped after a supervisor learned of it and she was returned to school before being processed.
A second child, a 6-year-old boy, was arrested in a separate incident at the same school, was processed and later released to a relative.
Michael Dean, the head of the juvenile division at the prosecutor’s office, said Monday that his office was alerted the boy was on his way to the juvenile detention center and he intervened so that the boy wouldn’t spend time at the center.
State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit Aramis D. Ayala told reporters Monday that her office never had any intention of prosecuting the elementary-age children. The girl’s case was dismissed Monday morning.
Ayala said she has not received a case number for the boy, but once it is assigned, “it too will be immediately dismissed.”
Rolón told reporters Monday that Turner had a previous incident “in his personal life” involving his child that was investigated by a neighboring police department. An internal investigation sustained the allegations and Turner was disciplined at the time.