Florida Police Officer Suspended After Arresting Schoolchildren, Ages 6 And 8

A school hallway empty of students and teachers.
ELIZABETHAFERRY / Pixabay

A police officer stationed inside a Florida school is on suspension after he arrested two young children, including a 6-year-old whose parents said she was suffering a medical emergency.

The incident took place in Orlando, where Police Chief Orlando Rolon said that the resource officer stationed inside of a local charter school went beyond department policy in the arrests. Officer Dennis Turner was working inside of Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy at the time he arrested the 6-year-old girl, who was charged with battery after kicking someone during what her grandmother said was a medical condition due to a sleep disorder. Turner arrested an 8-year-old student during the same week.

As NBC News reported, Turner was placed on suspension while the department conducted an internal investigation.

“The Orlando Police Department has a policy that addresses the arrest of a minor and our initial finding shows the policy was not followed,” Rolón said. “As a grandparent of three children less than 11 years old this is very concerning to me.”

The grandmother of the 6-year-old girl arrested said that she was taken to a juvenile detention center after acting out in school. The grandmother said that the girl was suffering from behavioral problems due to sleep apnea. After Turner’s supervisor learned about the girl’s arrest, the young student was taken from the detention center and returned to school.

The 8-year-old — who was arrested in a separate incident — was also processed at a detention center and later released to a relative, NBC News reported.

This is not the first time that the arrest of an elementary school student has garnered national interest. Back in 2013, the arrest of an 8-year-old captured viral attention and calls for police reform. The girl, Jymha Rickman, reportedly had a tantrum during the school day at Love Joy Elementary School in Alton, Illinois, and was handcuffed by police and placed in the back of a cruiser.

The young student was then taken to jail with her hands cuffed behind her back, and her family said that officers ignored the girl’s pleas to use the bathroom. The tight handcuffs also caused the girl pain, a guardian said.

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“Her eyes were swollen from her crying and her wrists had welts on them,” said the girl’s guardian. “They cuffed her feet too and she asked to use the restroom several times and was ignored.”

It is not clear what discipline the Orlando police officer could face for the arrests of the 6-year-old and 8-year-old students.