The incident began when the child in question threw a temper tantrum while she was at school at The Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy in Orlando. She started to scream and hit a classroom door after arguing with a teacher about wearing a pair of sunglasses indoors. The assistant principal came and led the child to her office while she continued to kick and make noise. This principal claims that the child was hitting her and had to be physically restrained. The child’s grandmother says that these tantrums were a side effect of sleep apnea. The school was aware of the condition.
There is no information available regarding who contacted the police, but a resource officer did arrive at the school. The police tried to get her to calm down and told her that they would take her to jail if she did not stop. The principal does finally subdue the child, but a short time later, police body camera footage shows the 6 year old being arrested. She was placed in zip ties to be restrained and she was heard begging the officers to let her go as she was placed in the back of a police car. One of the officers was overheard saying that this is the youngest person he has ever arrested in 28 years. The school did not respond to requests for comments regarding how the police ended up on the scene.
The Orlando Police claim that they reviewed the incident shortly afterward for misconduct. They say that one of the officers involved was terminated, but the other was not disciplined after evidence emerged of him protesting the arrest and becoming concerned, even though a supervisor told him to proceed with transporting the child to jail. The Orlando Police have not disclosed all of the records related to the arrest and they claim that most of the documentation is exempt from public disclosure by law. This law is apparently on the books to protect children, even though the identity of the victim has already been released to the media in this case. An advisor with the department said the purpose of the relevant statute is to exempt sensitive information about juveniles from public disclosure.
The officer who arrested this 6 year old apparently has a history of illegal arrests of children. The Orlando Police Chief did mention that the same officer was involved in an incident involving one of his own children a number of years before. However, he said he could not go into further detail. The media attempted to contact this officer directly, but received no response.
The local state attorney assigned to the case said she did not want to move forward with criminal charges and prosecution, because children of that age should be disciplined outside of the criminal justice system. This is partially done for their own protection.
Police misconduct and public outcries
A number of incidents of police misconduct have made national news in recent years. This is becoming more common as body camera footage from officers has been more widely used and available. Many commentators have called for re-training and increased oversight of police departments after reviewing their actions.