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Police bodycam captures footage of crying six-year-old being arrested by Florida police

7 months 3 weeks 3 days ago Thursday, February 27 2020 Feb 27, 2020 February 27, 2020 10:45 AM February 27, 2020 in News
Source: CNN
Photo: BBC World News

ORLANDO, FL - Police bodycam footage released on Tuesday, Feb. 25 captured the moment a crying six-year-old was arrested at her school in Orlando, Florida.

Video footage revealed police restraining young Kaia Rolle's hands with zip-ties as she begged them not to arrest her. 

Kaia's mother and her family released the footage through their attorneys at Smith and Eulo Law Firm.

The family told reporters they wanted the public to see how the arrest unfolded.

The officer whose bodycam captured the ordeal was fired after an internal investigation by the Orlando Police Department. 

Authorities say the officer, whose name is Dennis Turner, had not followed the correct protocol, which states that a police officer must have their supervisor's approval to arrest any child under the age of 12.

According to written statements made by the principal, the assistant principal and two school staff members in September 2019 and obtained by CNN, the incident began at about 8:10 a.m. when Kaia Rolle was screaming and pulling on a classroom door because she wanted to wear her sunglasses.

The assistant principal observed this and led Kaia to the office while the child was "kicking and screaming."

"Kaia became aggressive hitting me with her hands in the chest and stomach area," the assistant principal wrote in the statement. "I restrained her by holding her forearms."

Meralyn Kirkland, the child's grandmother, told CNN Kaia had been acting out because she was experiencing the side effects from sleep apnea, that the school was aware of the issues and that the family was working to get the issues resolved.

From the statements, it's unclear when exactly the resource officer was called to intervene. But the statements from one staff member and the school principal reference interactions between Kaia and the resource officer.

The school resource officer tried to "calm her but Kaia would not listen," said a staff member.

"He tried to get her to sit down but she wouldn't," the principal's statement said. Portions of the principal's handwritten statement are hard to decipher. Like this one: "He told her that he would take her to jail if she didn't stop misbehaving and hitting."

At one point, the officer asked administrators to call Kaia's family. "After about 10 minutes [the principal] was able to calm Kaia down," the statement from the staff member read.

But, the videos released to CNN by the family attorney start off with Kaia Rolle calmly reading a book with a teacher in an office and do not show the temper tantrum described in the handwritten statements.

State Attorney Aramis Ayala did not pursue the misdemeanor battery charges against the little girl, and during a press conference in September said, "Very young children ought to be protected, nurtured and disciplined in a manner that does not rely on the criminal justice system."

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