A Florida police officer has been fired after he arrested two 6-year-old students at their school on suspicion of misdemeanor battery charges, prompting outcry and an internal investigation.
Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón said Monday that the incident made him “sick to [his] stomach,” especially when he found out the children, students at Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy, had been put in the back of a squad car.
Officer Dennis Turner had been working as a school resource officer at the charter school when he arrested the first-graders during separate incidents, handcuffing them with zip ties, and taking them to the station, the chief said.
Rolón explained that there’s a policy that “strictly prohibits” officers from arresting children under the age of 12 unless they receive approval from a manager.
“It was clear today when I came into work that there was no other remedy than to terminate this officer,” Rolón said.
During the press conference, Rolón alluded to Turner’s past disciplinary issues, including an incident with his own son.
According to an Orlando Sentinel article from 1998, the officer, then 37, was charged with aggravated child abuse after officials found welts and bruises on his 7-year-old son.
Apopka police said Turner abused the boy after he brought home a bad report from school. In an interview with the paper at the time, Turner defended his actions.
Before that, Turner was the subject of two other internal investigations, the Sentinel also reported.
In 2003, officials with the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office said it was going to ask a state attorney to review the Orlando police officer after he threatened the husband of the woman Turner had been dating and “thumped him on the chest.”
That same year, the Orlando Sentinel reported that Turner tased a man five times, even after he was on the floor “and had stopped resisting.”
According to a tweet from the department last June, Turner retired after “23 years of dedicated service” and then, at some point, was brought on to the force’s reserve unit.