Officer Dennis Turner has been fired for arresting two children, BuzzFeed News reports.
“When I first learned about this, we were all appalled and we could not fathom the idea of a 6-year-old being put in the back of a police car,” Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón said. “It’s still shocking to us. […] To have something like this happen was completely and totally a surprise to all of us.”
As a grandparent of three children less than 11 years old this is very concerning to me,” Chief Orlando Rolón said. “Our Department strives to deliver professional and courteous service. My staff and I are committed to exceeding those standards and expectations.”
The 6-year-old was released from custody after she was handcuffed, fingerprinted, and had mug shots taken. The 8-year-old, who was arrested in a separate incident, was processed through a Juvenile Assessment Center and released. The race of the second child is unknown, but as Time reports, the Richmond, Virginia sector of the NAACP officially filed a complaint to the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights in 2016 and said that black children with disabilities were disciplined more frequently and severely than other children.
Police are often deployed to help provide security at schools across the country, a practice that became more common following the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. As GQ notes, somewhere between 14,000 and 20,000 officers work at 45 percent of schools in the U.S., and as a result more children have been arrested for nonviolent infractions.
In 2016, almost 90 cases of police using tasers on students between the age of 12 and 19 were unearthed. Black students make up only 16 percent of the student body in the country, but they also make up 31 percent of school arrests.