Body camera footage of a 6-year-old’s arrest at school last fall has been released by her family.
Kaia Rolle, a student at Lucious & Emma Nixon Academy in Orlando, Florida, was arrested in September after she threw a tantrum in class and allegedly kicked a school employee in the process.
Nearly six months later, the 6-year-old’s family has now shared body camera footage of her arrest, obtained by the Orlando Sentinel this week, which shows plastic zip ties being placed on her wrists as she was too small for handcuffs.
The footage begins with two officers walking into the school’s administrative area, where Kaia was sitting quietly, listening to a school employee read to her from a book.
“Come over here, honey, it’s not going to hurt,” one officer tells Kaia, placing the zip ties around her wrists as she cries out.
“Don’t put handcuffs on!” she cries, sobbing. “Help me, help me.”
As the officers walk Kaia out of the building, she continues to cry.
“I don’t want to go in a police car,” Kaia tells the officers as they walk outside.
“You don’t want to?” one of the officers says back to her. “You have to.”
“No, please give me a second chance!” she says as they approach the police SUV.
One of the officers picks her up and puts her into the back seat; the whole time, Kaia is crying, “please, please, please. Please let me go.”
One officer, identified by the Sentinel as Officer Dennis Turner, then returns to speak with school employees.
One asked, “the restraints, are they necessary?” to which he replied, “yes.”
“And if she was bigger, she’d be wearing regular handcuffs,” he added. “The youngest I’ve ever arrested was 7. He was stealing out of an Albertsons and thought it was a joke. All the rest of the kids were crying and he was laughing, so that’s the only reason he went to jail. He didn’t think it was serious.”
Turner continued to tell the school employees that over 28 years as an officer, he’d arrested 6,000 people.
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“She’s six. Now she has broken the record,” he added.
Turner reportedly arrested another 6-year-old from the same school the same day, but details of his case were not made public.
As PEOPLE previously reported, Turner, a school resource officer, was fired a week later for failing to follow the departmental policy that requires officers to obtain approval from a supervisor before arresting anyone younger than 12 years old.
The other officer whom was seen cuffing the girl, identified as Sergio Ramos, raised multiple concerns about the arrest, department spokesman Sgt. David Baker said in a statement to The Washington Post. An investigation exonerated him.
“I was sick to my stomach when I heard this. … We were all appalled,” Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón said at the time.
“On behalf of myself and the entire Orlando Police Department, I apologize to the children involved and their families,” he said. “As a grandfather of three children less than 11 years old, I can only imagine how traumatic this was for everyone involved.”
State Attorney Aramis Ayala also said at the time that neither 6-year-old, who had both been charged with misdemeanor battery, would be prosecuted.
“I refuse to knowingly play any role in the school-to-prison pipeline at any age,” Ayala said in a news conference at the time, according to The New York Times. “These very young children are to be protected, nurtured and disciplined in a manner that does not rely on the criminal justice system to do it.”
In a statement to PEOPLE after the body camera footage was released, Rolón said that in addition to firing Turner, he has implemented new policies to make sure that nothing like this happens again.
“As Chief of Police, one of my top priorities is the trust between the community and our officers. Because of this incident that occurred on September 19, 2019, that trust was put in question,” his statement said. “When the incident occurred, I took swift action and immediately suspended Officer Turner. On September 23, 2019, Officer Turner’s Reserve Officer status was revoked, ending his ability to work as a police officer with the Orlando Police Department. The actions I took to address this situation were widely reported in the media at that time.”
Rolón added that “as a grandfather myself, I understand how traumatic this incident was for the children and everyone involved.”
Rolón’s new policies include an update to the juveniles arresting procedure: any arrest of a juvenile under the age of 12 must receive a deputy chief’s approval, whereas before it required a manager’s approval.
Additionally, any charter school requesting an officer to work extra-duty at their school will now be managed by the school resource officer supervisor not through the traditional extra-duty program.
Rolón also told PEOPLE that within the first few days of learning of Kaia’s arrest, he requested an administrative expunction of the charges against the child arrested from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.