The family of a six-year-old girl who was arrested, zip-tied and prosecuted for throwing a tantrum at school, Florida police are suing.
Kaia Rolle, who was a freshman at Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy Charter School, begged the officer not to use handcuffs to restrain her before putting her in a patrol SUV and driving her away in 2019.
The ordeal went viral at the time and shocked the nation, sparking widespread outrage among Orlando police and the officers involved.
The new complaint, filed against the city of Orlando and several police officers, now seeks $50,000 in compensation for the suffering endured by the child after his “terrorist, cruel and senseless” arrest, as well as for his medical expenses.
His grandmother previously said police “ruined” the child’s life by escorting him from school, arresting him and charging him with misdemeanor battery.
Kaia’s grandmother, Meralyn Kirkland (pictured with her). Kaia Rolle, who was a freshman at Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy Charter School, begged the officer not to use handcuffs to restrain her before putting her in a patrol SUV and driving her away in 2019.
An officer is seen leading Kaia out of school in wrist restraints.
The complaint, filed September 18, alleges that Officers Dennis Turner and Sergio Ramos “had no probable cause” and “used excessive force” while in custody.
Officers handcuffed the child with zipties and took her out of the building before fingerprinting her at a detention center and taking her photo.
She was “throwing a tantrum” because of her childhood obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder her school already knew about. She tried to keep her glasses on, but her teacher wanted her to take them off.
According to the suit, the arresting officers spoke to his grandmother, Meralyn Kirkland, who begged them not to arrest the child. But they didn’t listen.
The new lawsuit claims the child’s DNA was taken at the juvenile detention center and she had to climb on a stepladder to take her photo.
The arresting officer, Turner, was fired by the Orlando Police Department following the incident, as it was revealed that he had also arrested another six-year-old during of an unrelated incident that occurred at school the same day.
Turner had to use plastic restraints because his wrists were too small for regular handcuffs.
“Please give me a second chance!” Please let me go!’ Kaia cried as she was placed in the car
Kaia Rolle suffers from post-traumatic stress and severe separation anxiety after being handcuffed and arrested for throwing a tantrum in first grade
“Please give me a second chance!” Please let me go!’ Kaia groaned as she was loaded into the vehicle.
A vice-principal had said Kaia hit her and threw a tantrum when she wasn’t allowed to wear her sunglasses to class.
At the time, Florida did not have a minimum age law for arrests.
Kaia’s family released the video, which was widely shared, out of outrage over the arrest.
“Kaia was so small that the officer had to find a footstool to get her in the right picture so he could take her picture,” Meralyn Kirkland, her grandmother, said at the time.
The little girl remembers her confusion and fear that day.
“I was really scared and confused,” Kaia said in a 2021 interview. “I said ‘are these police officers for me?’
In the footage, Turner can be heard telling a school employee, “She’s going to have to come with us now,” before waving at Kaia and ordering her, “Get up, get up…come here.”
” What are they for ? » asks Kaia.
“It’s for you,” Turner responds.
Kaia was a happy, outgoing child before she was arrested at the age of six. Today, she is withdrawn, says her grandmother, and leads a “lonely life”.
Body camera footage shows Orlando police officers arresting six-year-old Kaia Rolle, sobbing, at the Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy Charter School on September 19, 2019.
Kaia’s family released video of the scandalous arrest, which shows the child in tears begging officers to let her go before restraining her with zip ties.
Orlando police school resource officer Dennis Turner, shown at his retirement ceremony in 2018, was fired for arresting the two children
Kirkland said Kaia threw a tantrum at Lucious & Emma Nixon Academy (pictured above), had sleep apnea and told the arresting officer that the family was “working to resolve” the sleep disorder.
Kaia then bursts into tears as she begs another officer not to put her under restraints.
“It won’t hurt,” said the second.
“No, no, I don’t want handcuffs!” » Kaia screams. “No, don’t put handcuffs on!” Please!’
Speaking to Insider two years ago, the grandmother said: “She’s still a loving child, but she’s not as fun and loving as she once was.”
“Before, she saw good in everything, and nothing brought her down, but now she has to pull herself out of despair.”
The Kaia Rolle law currently prohibits the arrest of children under the age of 7 – and the family is now asking the state to increase that number to 12.
“We shouldn’t be putting handcuffs on six-year-olds,” Dr. Chris Curran, director of the University of Florida Center for Educational Policy Research, told the cable news show. “There are almost no situations in which this is an appropriate response.”
Bobby DiCello, an attorney representing Kaia’s family, said, “I have never seen a child with her hands tied at the age of 6, taken out by a man three times her size.”