Black Orlando Cop Terminated After Arresting Black 6-Year-Olds

According to the New York Times, Dennis Turner has been terminated Monday after he arrested two 6-year-old children last week without the proper approval, said Chief Orlando Rolón.

The 6-year-olds, one boy and one girl, faced misdemeanor battery charges but will not be prosecuted, Aramis Ayala, the state attorney who serves Orange County, Fla., said at a news conference on Monday.

The state attorney’s office never intended to prosecute the children, but couldn’t dismiss the girl’s charges until Monday, Ms. Ayala stated. The boy’s charges will be dismissed as well, once his case number is assigned.

“I refuse to knowingly play any role in the school-to-prison pipeline at any age,” Ms. Ayala said. “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.”

Authorities have not released the children’s names, but Meralyn Kirkland told local television station WKMG that her 6-year-old granddaughter Kaia had been arrested after having a tantrum in which she kicked a school staff member.

Turner, who served as a school resource officer at Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy, a charter school that serves students from kindergarten through fifth grade, when he arrested the children in separate incidents on Thursday.

He was assigned to the Reserve Officer Program, which is made up of retired officers, The Orlando Sentinel reported.

Officer Turner arrested the children despite the principal’s request not to do so, Shawn Arnold, the school’s lawyer, said in a statement.

Departmental policy requires officers to get a supervisor’s approval when arresting anyone under the age of 12, which Officer Turner failed to do in both arrests.

Police official said Turner had been suspended immediately after the two arrests, pending an investigation into his actions.

However, this isn’t Turner first incident regarding disproportionate force with small children. In 1998, the retired cop was charged with aggravated child abuse in connection with his 7-year-old son, the Orlando Sentinel reported. He was suspended pending the result of an investigation, but the outcome of the case was unclear.

In 2016, Turner was reprimanded for using excessive force after stunning a man five times with a taser during an arrest, the newspaper reported.

At a news conference, Chief Rolón said that he did not speak with Officer Turner directly, but that an investigation into his conduct would continue despite his termination.

Back to top