Florida lawmakers came together in support of a little girl who cried and pleaded with an Orlando police officer to let her go after he zip-tied her wrists and arrested her last year.
ABC Action News reports that lawmakers showed overwhelming support for a Kaia Roller, 6, who was arrested inside her Orlando classroom. Florida lawmakers passed a measure on Wednesday that will require authorities to put strict procedures in place before arresting any child under 10 years old.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Kaia, a first-grader at Lucious & Emma Nixon Academy, was sitting inside a Florida classroom listening to a school employee tell a story on September 19, 2019, when Orlando Officer Dennis Turner walked in and arrested her.
Kaia had apparently had a temper tantrum earlier that day. She allegedly ended up hitting and kicking a few staff members. According to an arrest report, the little girl was charged with misdemeanor battery.
Kaia Rolle: “What are those for?”
Officer Dennis Turner: “They’re for you,” Officer Dennis Turner said about the zip ties.
Kaia Rolle: “No … no, don’t put handcuffs on!
Kaira had calmed down by the time the officer arrived, but it was too late. A staff member informed the little girl she had to go with the officer.
“Please, give me a second chance,” the girl cried.
The officers placed Kaira in the back seat of an SUV and drove her to a juvenile detention center.
Another school staff member, Beverly Stoute, allegedly requested to press charges against Kaia, according to police. The school denied the allegation and claimed they never wanted to press charges or have the girl arrested.
“We care about the well-being of our students. The officer’s statements are inaccurate. We did not ask for either student to be arrested, neither did we want to pursue criminal charges,” a spokesperson for the school said.
Turner had previously arrested a 6-year-old boy on a misdemeanor charge. He did not get approval from his watch commander for either arrest, as is required when a school resource officer arrests a child under 12.
Members from both the Republican and Democrat sides of the Florida House united together in support of HB 7065, and a school safety legislation that would also allow criminal charges to be filed against anyone intentionally making false accusations.
Kaia and her grandmother Meralyn Kirkland watched from the House gallery on Wednesday. Afterward, Kirkland, while outside of the chamber floor, showed gratitude to the lawmakers.
“We just can’t just sit here and sympathize and empathize, or send love or send our regrets,” Kirkland said afterward. “We’ve got to do something to stop this.”
“I needed people to know that there is this law in the books that allows our babies to be arrested. It was not a one-off with Kaia. It can happen to any child and any family out there, and that we needed to make a change.”
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[Feature Photo: Kaia Rolle/Handout]