ORLANDO, Fla. — The officer who arrested two 6-year-old children at an Orlando charter school last week has been fired, according to Orlando's police chief.
- School officer fired after arresting 2 6-year-old students
- Arrests occurred at Lucious and Emma Nixon Charter School
- Dennis Turner is a retired Orlando Police officer
- PREVIOUS: Cop Suspended Over "Concerning" Kids' Arrests
Chief Orlando Rolón said during a news conference Monday evening that Officer Dennis Turner was let go as a school resource officer.
"I have taken steps that this does not occur in the future," Rolón said. "On Friday, members of the Orlando police department received a special notice reminding them of our policy that strictly prohibits the arrest of a child under 12 years of age unless they receive approval from a manager."
The two 6-year-old children who were arrested also will not be prosecuted, State Attorney Aramis Ayala announced.
Ayala said Monday that not only would the charges be dropped, her office would be looking into what it will take to have the arrest removed from the children's records.
Turner was initially suspended following Thursday's arrests at Lucious and Emma Nixon Charter School in Orlando. At the time, police told media that the children were 8 and 6 years old.
The children, later described as a 6-year-old girl and 6-year-old boy, were arrested on misdemeanor charges stemming from separate incidents. Law enforcement has not said what led to the arrests. But a mother who says her son was one of the two children told Spectrum News 13 that he kicked a worker.
The mother called the arrest excessive and says her son is scarred from the incident.
Rolón said the agency's policy requires that officers get approval from a manager, called a watch commander, before arresting someone younger than 12. The agency says Turner violated that policy.
The arrests have sparked outrage among local lawmakers.
”Arrested. Handcuffed. Fingerprinted. A mugshot,” Democratic state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith tweeted. “For a 6-year-old who had a tantrum? I'm completely speechless at the complete and total lack of judgment shown by this Orlando Police officer. How is it acceptable to traumatize any child in this way?”
Turner, whom Orlando Police said on Twitter had retired in 2018, was working as a school resource officer at the charter school as a part of the reserve officer program. Rolón said Turner has been investigated before, regarding allegations involving his own child. The details on that case haven't been released.
We know at least one of the children was processed at the Juvenile Assessment Center before being handed back over to family members.
Ayala said that although disciplinary action may need to be taken with a child sometimes, that should not be done through the criminal justice system.
Ayala spoke at length with Rolón, who supported the decision.
“As a grandparent of three children less than 11 years old this is very concerning to me,” Rolon said in a statement. “Our department strives to deliver professional and courteous service. My staff and I are committed to exceeding those standards and expectations.”
The attorneys representing the family of one of the 6-year-olds in the incident released a statement Tuesday afternoon. They are working with the State Attorney's Office and the Orlando Police Department "to facilitate the immediate administrative expungment" of the girl's arrest from her juvenile record, so she and her family "can begin the healing process."