When Kaia Rolle was just 6-years-old she was arrested by an Orlando police officer after throwing a temper tantrum.
Since then, the officer was put in the hot seat, particularly when body-cam footage was released to the public...
And now, 2 years later she's still traumatized by the event.
Here's the full story, including the shocking viral footage...
Police brutality is a serious issue in the States.
via: Getty ImagesAfter a number of incidents that have emerged over the past decade, it is clear to see a distinct pattern in all of the unlawful arrests made by police officers.
This story adds to this narrative.
via: Getty Images
However, this one's got a surprising twist. A police officer arrested, handcuffed, and processed a 6-year-old for throwing what has been described as a "tantrum" during class. He also arrested an 8-year-old.
The incidents occurred during 2 separate incidents at a school in Orlando, Florida.
via: Getty ImagesDennis Turner, the officer facing backlash, has since been suspended for his behavior, which was deemed illegal and unjust.
Here's how it all started...
via: Getty ImagesKaia, the 6-year-old, was arrested after throwing a tantrum in which she kicked a teacher. The charter school which she attended, Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy, has a policy that states a supervisor must agree to the said arrest before any action is taken.
But that's not what happened here.
via: Getty ImagesTurner decided he would arrest the child without permission. He handcuffed her and put her in the back of a police car and drove her all the way to a Juvenile Facility where she was fingerprinted and had to wait for an adult to come and judge the situation.
Meralyn Kirkland, her grandmother, received a disturbing call informing her of the situation.
via: New York TimesAs any guardian would be, Meralyn was concerned for her granddaughter. She wondered how anyone could arrest and handcuff a child in such a heartless manner.
This is what she told the television station WKMG:
via: Getty ImagesShe told them that, after receiving a call, informing her that Kaia had been arrested for "battery" offenses, she had been driven to the Juvenile Assessment Center where she was being held.
The concerned grandmother tried to explain why her granddaughter was acting out...
via: TwitterBut the officer was having none of it. Meralyn told him that Kaia had sleep apnea, a sleeping disorder, and that they were working to resolve the issue.
And you wouldn't believe what the officer said...
via: TwitterTurner had responded in the most unsympathetic manner saying: "Well, I have sleep apnea, and I don’t behave like that." The officer is pictured on the left, just to clear things up. Yes, a relatively powerful member of the community upholding these kinds of biased, aggressive values. It just adds extra salt to the wound.
According to Meralyn, that's what he said.
First of all, you're a grown adult. If you were going around kicking anybody, you'd probably get kicked back before being arrested.
Secondly, you've just heard that a 6-year-old is having to deal with a disorder that means she stops breathing while she's sleeping and that's the best you've got?
Meralyn was left extremely heartbroken after the incident.
@orlandosentinel PPS. People need to stop being shocked that a Black cop could be part of a racist criminal legal s… https://t.co/DrZhsLx4lP— Rebecca Kavanagh (@Rebecca Kavanagh)1569214943.0
The officer who transported the 6-year-old later found out that Turner had not been granted approval and stopped the process.
@orlandosentinel In NYC, 23% of cops are Black and a staggering 67% of corrections officers are Black. But 90% of p… https://t.co/Nr7uGUNx3r— Rebecca Kavanagh (@Rebecca Kavanagh)1569215129.0
But gets worse...
via: Getty ImagesIt was later found that this wasn't the first time that Turner had taken part in this kind of activity. Apparently, in a separate incident, he had arrested an 8-year-old, whose details have been omitted from the public for safety reasons.
Things took a more sinister turn...
via: Getty Images
It was later revealed that Turner had been known to the police before these 2 events. In 1998, he had been charged with aggravated child abuse, for things he had done to his 7-year-old son. The outcome of that case had never been noted, but since he continued his role as an officer, clearly there were no severe consequences for him.
He was also known for his aggression on the job.
via: Getty ImagesIn 2016, the officer had been facing backlash for his handling of a case, where instead of arresting a criminal, he subjected him to torture by stunning him with a taser 5 times.
And still, Turner served in the police force for twenty-three years...
via: Getty Images
According to the department, he retired in 2018, but by that time he was earning almost 100,000 dollars a year.
So this raises all-important questions as to why this man still had a job protecting the community?
via: Getty ImagesI'm just as shocked as you are. There has been no information released stating whether or not he's going to face any repercussions. Right now, he has just been suspended by the department while an investigation takes place.
The police chief, Orlando Rolón, commented on the situation.
via: Orlando GovernmentHe stated that Turner was working as a school resource officer at a charter school when he arrested the children.
Officer Turner was assigned to the "Reserve Officer Program."
via: Getty Images
Details of the program were unavailable, it was reported that it is made up of retired officers from the Orlando Police Department.
A mental health doctor said that putting a child in handcuffs is traumatizing.
via: Twitter"Arresting them and putting them under handcuffs is traumatizing. There’s no clinical benefit to the child or society."
Then, body-cam footage was released meaning that the officer could be brought to justice.
Orlando PDAn attorney from Smith & Eulo Law Firm representing the little girl's family told Buzzfeed News that Kaia has now changed schools and is seeing a counselor every week.
They are currently suing the state of Orlando.
Orlando PDThe leader of the police force released a follow-up statement in which he stated that the officer in question has now been fired and their department underwent training to prevent incidents like this from happening again.
And the law around the issue has strengthened too.
via: Orlando PD
Now, arrests on children under the age of twelve must be approved by a deputy chief before they are followed through.
He said this: "As a Grandfather myself, I understand how traumatic this incident was for the children and everyone involved."
And now, Kaia's grandmother, Meralyn Kirkland, has spoken out about the effects it's had on Kaia.
Kaia Rolle was arrested at school when she was 6 years old. Two years later, she's dealing with painful trauma.— harringtonbecca (@HarringtonBecca) March 17, 2021
Her grandmother told @TaylorArdrey Kaia had to stand on a step stool when they took her mugshot.
It's a painful example of how Black girls are criminalized in school
As per the Insider, following the arrest Kaia developed extreme separation anxiety.
She would wake in the night screaming with night terrors and wet her bed.
Eventually she had to move into her grandmother's room to finally go to sleep.
"They have ruined her life over something that was 100% preventable," she said.
"She's still a loving child, but she's not as fun and loving the way she once was. Before, she saw some good in everything, and nothing used to bring her down, but now she has to bring herself out of despair."
Since the arrest, Kaia has needed a lot of help. She has been treated by several therapists and has since being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
She is also now failing at school according to her latest report card, her grandmother said.
Kaia's medical bills and a new private school, which are paid for by her grandmother, amount to a lot.
And although she has received over six thousand dollars from her GoFundMe and scholarships, she still feels a big strain.
"I really and truly feel that had we not been a Black family, we would've had more help," she said.
"We would have had a better opportunity to help Kaia through this a lot better and a lot faster."
No child should have to experience that.
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