ORLANDO, Fla. — An Orlando elementary school resource officer who arrested two 6-year-olds in two separate incidents was fired Monday, said Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon.
Rolon said during an afternoon press conference the department was trying to give the officer “at least the benefit” of reviewing paperwork and statements.
“It was clear today when I came into work that there was no other remedy than to terminate this officer,” he said.
Rolon added that one of his top priorities as the chief of police is “to earn and protect the trust between the community and its officers” and this incident put that trust into question.
“On behalf of myself and the Orlando Police Department, I apologize to the children involved and their families,” Rolon said.
Police initially said one child was 8 years old, but Rolon said Monday they were both 6 years old.
Last week, the officer arrested 6-year-old Kaia Rolle at the Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy in Orlando after she reportedly had a temper tantrum at school. FOX8 does not normally identify juveniles in such cases, but the family has spoken openly about her.
The Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy said it had no comment on the incident Monday.
The girl’s grandmother Meralyn Kirkland told WKMG the school called her on Thursday to say Kaia kicked someone and was being arrested and charged with battery.
Kirkland says Kaia sometimes experiences side effects from sleep apnea and the family is working on getting the condition resolved. She claims the first-grader was arrested, fingerprinted and had mugshots taken — however police say the child was not processed.
Calls to Rolle’s grandmother Meralyn were not answered on Monday morning.
State Attorney Aramis Ayala said Monday that her office would not prosecute the misdemeanor battery charges against either child.
“I refuse to knowingly play any role in the school-to-prison pipeline at any age,” she said. “These very young children ought to be protected, nurtured and disciplined in a manner that does not rely on the criminal justice system to do it.”
The Orlando Police Department oversees the school resource officer who made the arrest, and they say the situation was not handled properly.
According to the department, the arrest of any person under the age of 12 requires the approval of a watch commander, and this approval was not obtained in Kaia Rolle’s case.
In a statement provided to CNN, the police department said, “The second transport officer verified approval was not obtained and the process for the six-year-old was stopped immediately. The child was returned to the school prior to being processed at the Juvenile Assessment Center.”
The statement also mentions the school resource officer in question arrested another child in a separate incident.
“The first transport officer was not aware an approval was not obtained, and the (other child) was processed through the Juvenile Assessment Center. The child was released to a family member a short time later.”
Rolon briefly spoke about the arresting officer’s history with children Monday, saying the officer had a personal incident involving his own child years ago. Rolon said he could not go into details at this time.