Update: The police officer who arrested Kaia has been fired. Read our latest article on this story here.
In a jaw-dropping story out of Orlando, Florida, a local NBC outlet is reporting that a 1st-grader was arrested by police on Thursday after she allegedly threw a tantrum and kicked a staff member at her elementary school.
Speaking to WFLA News Channel 8, Meralyn Kirkland said she was shocked and outraged when she learned that Orlando police had placed her 6-year-old granddaughter, Kaia, in handcuffs and carted her off to a juvenile detention center where she was fingerprinted and even had her mugshot taken.
Kirkland said that Kaia has sleep apnea, a medical condition that the family is “working on getting resolved,” which can cause her to act our due to lack of sleep.
As she was waiting for Kaia to be fingerprinted, Kirkland says that’s when the gravity of the situation hit her.
“No six year old child should be able to tell somebody that they had handcuffs on them and they were riding in the back of a police car and taken to a juvenile center to be fingerprinted, mug shot,” Kirkland said.
WKMG News 6 reports that Officer Dennis Turner, who arrested Kaia, also arrested an 8-year-old boy the same day on unrelated charges. But according to department policy, officers are supposed to get approval from their watch commander before they arrest anyone under 12-years-old. Turner did not do so before he conducted both arrests and he’s now the subject of an internal investigation.
According to the Sun Sentinel, there is no minimum age for arrest in Florida. During 2014-15, there were 80 arrests of children under the age of 9. In 2010, a 4-year-old boy was arrested after a group of children he was with, ranging in ages 6, 8, 9, and 11, busted a padlock on a man’s shed and vandalized his property, including an R.V. that was parked in his driveway. The boy was the youngest to ever be arrested in the state.
[This article has been updated to include additional details about the arresting officer and to correct an earlier version which said Kaia kicked a fellow student. She actually kicked a school staff member.]
Featured image via screen grab/WFLA