An attorney representing the family of a young girl arrested last year has released body camera footage of the event, which shows Florida police officers leading the sobbing 6-year-old away from her elementary school and toward a squad car as her hands are bound by zip ties.
According to CBS News, the video footage shows the officers approach a school administrator who was tasked with monitoring 6-year-old Kaia Rolle after she was reprimanded for hitting and kicking three staff members.
The school administrator informs Kaia that she will have to go with the police officer, prompting the girl to ask the officers about the zip ties they’re holding.
After Kaia asks the officers “What are those for,” Officer Dennis Turner, who was fired for the incident, informs Kaia that “they’re for you.”
Kaia immediately begins sobbing, muttering “don’t put handcuffs on” and repeatedly saying “help me.” During the arrest, someone can be heard assuring Kaia that her grandmother will “come pick you up.” Speaking through tears, Kaia pleads again, “I want to stay at school; I just got here.”
As the officers lead Kaia outside the school, Kaia continues sobbing, saying “no” and “I don’t want,” and “please give me a second chance.” The body cam footage shows an officer lifting up Kaia into the backseat of the car, as she mutters one final “just let me go.”
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Florida law requires that children must ride in booster seats if they are five years old or younger. As such, Kaia barely qualified to ride without one at the time she was arrested.
In a segment of the video released by WESH-2, a Florida-based TV news station, Officer Darren Turner approaches several school administrators with concerns about why the officers decided to arrest a 6-year-old girl. Turner claims he thought the child was 8 years old.
WOMAN: The restraints. Are they necessary?
TURNER: Yes. And If she was bigger, she would’ve been wearing regular handcuffs….
TURNER: 6,000 people I’ve arrested over the 28 years. That’s a lot of people.
WOMAN: But that young?
WOMAN: Seven is your youngest?
TURNER: Seven is the youngest. She’s eight, isn’t she?
WOMAN: She’s six.
TURNER: She’s six. Now she has broken the record. She broke the record.
According to the WKGM, Turner was fired by Police Chief Orlando Rolan five days after the incident, and apparently had arrested a 6-year-old boy the exact same day.
“As a grandfather of three children less than 11 years old, I can only imagine how traumatic this was for everyone involved,” said Rolon. “We were all appalled. We could not fathom the idea of a 6-year-old being put in the back of a police car.”
Meralyn Kirkland, the girl’s grandmother, told the news agency that she wasn’t informed prior to the arrest, and that the family had been working with Kaia to help her learn to manage sleep apnea, which had been causing mood swings.
Kirkland also said Officer Turner was dismissive toward her explanation of her granddaughter’s behavior at school.
“She has a medical condition that we are working on getting resolved, and he says, ”What medical condition?’ ‘She has a sleep disorder, sleep apnea,’ and he says, ‘Well, I have sleep apnea, and I don’t behave like that,'” Kirkland told the news agency.
An excerpt of the video has been published by CBS News, and can be viewed below: