On Monday, February 24, a body camera video was released that showed last year’s arrest of a 6-year-old Black girl by Orlando police. The child had thrown a temper tantrum in school, resulting in three school employees reporting that they were punched and kicked.
Kaia Rolle had calmed down and was listening as a woman read her a book inside an office at Lucious & Emma Nixon Academy on Sept. 19, 2019, when two Orlando police officers approached her with ‘zip tie’ handcuffs to place her under arrest.
“What are those for?” Kaia reportedly asked the officers, according to The Orlando Sentinel.
“They’re for you,” Officer Dennis Turner reportedly replied back as the other officer tightened them around Kaia’s wrists.
The first-grader immediately started crying. “No… No… Don’t put handcuffs on!” Kaia told officers, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The school staff member who was reading to Kaia told her to go with the police officers and that her grandmother would pick her up.
Kaia’s and another 6-year-old’s arrests at the school last September, caused national backlash for the Orlando Police Department because of the student’s young age. Ultimately, Turner was fired.
Now, bodycam images and video have been released to the public and it’s sure to stir up even more condemnation.
“Help me, help me, please!” Kaia can be heard crying as officers placed her in a police SUV to be transported to the Juvenile Assessment Center and school employees looked on.
Turner reportedly told school officials that he had arrested 6,000 people throughout his police career and that the youngest was 7. When they informed him that Kaia was six, he seemed to take it in stride, according to The Orlando Sentinel.
“Now she has broken the record,” Turner reportedly said.
“The restraints, are they necessary?” one school employee asked Turner.
“Yes,” he replied, adding: “If she was bigger, she would have been wearing regular handcuffs.”
The body cam shows officers walking with Kaia to the squad car as she cried, “I don’t wanna go in a police car.”
The other officer, who has not been identified, responded: “You don’t want to? … You have to.”
“Please, give me a second chance,” Kaia begged. Still, they put her in the squad car and ultimately took her to the county Juvenile Assessment Center where she had to stand on a step stool so her photo could be shot. Her fingerprints were also taken.
Prosecutors dropped charges against Kaia the next day.
Meralyn Kirkland, Kaia’s grandmother, said it was tough watching the bodycam footage but that she’s glad it has been released so everyone can see how traumatizing this was for her grandbaby. Kirkland told the Orlando Sentinel she wants the video to prompt people to support a proposal that makes 12 the minimum age for officers to arrest a child.
“I knew that what they did was wrong, but I never knew she was begging for help,” Kirkland said to the newspaper. “I watched her break.”
Kirkland said Kaia had sleep apnea, which was causing her some problems in school. Despite that, she said she had been working with school officials on the issue, prior to Kaia’s arrest.
The young girl is now enrolled in private school.