Kaia Rolle, 6, did not comprehend what the police officers were doing when they zip-tied her hands together in the principal’s office.
“What are those for?” she asked, looking at the zip ties one of the officers had brought to the school office in Orlando, Florida.
“It’s for you,” an officer responded.
As the officer tied on the zip ties, the little girl cried: “No, don’t put handcuffs on. Help me!”
First published by The Orlando Sentinel this week, newly released body camera footage revealed this phrase along with other horrifying details of how the officer arrested Kaia last September — leading her through the school into the back of a police vehicle despite her please for them to let her go.
Earlier that day, Kaia was arrested after throwing a “tantrum” at school where she kicked a school staff member, according to her grandmother.
Not long after the arrest, harsh criticism by law enforcement was noted. Dennis Turner, the officer, was terminated from his job in September. In a separate episode on the same day, he also arrested a 6-year-old boy.
The footage of the young girl’s arrest prompted many to say it was constituted child abuse.
“It was heartbreaking to watch this young six-year-old girl pleading for help and asking for a second chance as she was being arrested,” Florida state senator, Randolph Bracy, said in a statement this past Wednesday.
“The trauma this caused Kaia and her family is something nobody should ever have to go through.”
Mr. Bracy then introduced a bill last year after Kaia’s arrest that would stop police officers from arresting anyone under the age of 12. He then said in a statement how it was “shocking that no existing law prevented this unnecessary response to childhood misbehavior.”
In addition, Chief Orlando Rolón of the Orlando Police Department said in a statement on Tuesday how the arrest compromised trust between the community and police officers. You can read that statement above.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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