A police officer who arrested two 6-year-old children at school in separate incidents on Thursday will be subject to an internal investigation, the Orlando Police Department said.
Officer Dennis Turner was on duty as a school resource officer when he arrested the students on misdemeanor charges, Lt. Wanda Miglio of the Orlando Police Department told BuzzFeed News. Turner did not follow the department’s policy of requiring approval from a watch commander for the arrest of any children under the age of 12.
“There will be an internal investigation regarding these incidents,” Miglio said.
The officer is part of the department’s reserve program and will be suspended from duty pending the outcome of the investigation.
“As a grandparent of three children less than 11 years old this is very concerning to me,” Chief Orlando Rolón 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 investigation comes after 6-year-old Kaia Rolle’s grandmother said the girl was handcuffed and taken away in a police car, drawing outrage and national headlines.
Meralyn Kirkland, Kaia’s grandmother, told NBC affiliate WLFA that she was called Thursday and told her granddaughter had been arrested after throwing a tantrum at Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy, the Orlando charter school she attends as a first-grader. Kirkland said she was told her granddaughter had been arrested on a battery charge.
The school didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
Kirkland said her granddaughter was then handcuffed, fingerprinted, and even had mugshots taken, according to WFLA.
“No 6-year-old child should be able to tell somebody that they had handcuffs on them, and they were riding in the back of a police car and taken to a juvenile center to be fingerprinted, mug shot,” Kirkland said between tears.
Kirkland’s granddaughter was released from custody and returned to the school before being processed, the Orlando Police Department said.
The other 6-year-old, who was arrested on separate misdemeanor charges, was processed through the local juvenile assessment center, part of the state Department of Juvenile Justice, and released to a family member a short time later.
Both children who were arrested are 6 years old. An earlier version of this article, using information provided by the Orlando Police Department, misstated their ages.