Dennis L. Turner: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

dennis l turner

Twitter/OPD screenshot OPD officer Dennis L. Turner

Dennis L. Turner, the Orlando police school resource officer who arrested a 6 and 8-year-old, has a history of run-ins with other police departments for alleged violence including an arrest for allegedly beating his son, and was he found to have used excessive force at least once while arresting a suspect, Heavy has learned.

Turner arrested two elementary school children Thursday and was suspended and under investigation this weekend and then fired Monday.

According to an Orlando Police Department tweet from 2018, Turner was supposed to have retired.

During a series of email exchanges with an Orlando Police spokesperson wherein Heavy tried to confirm Turner’s date of hire, believed to be in 1995 and unofficially confirmed by the OPD tweet, the officer said she did not have access to a computer to confirm his hire date.

But a report from 1998 shows an Orlando Police officer named Dennis L. Turner was arrested for the alleged beating of his 7-year-old son, records show. A cursory search of city records does not show another police officer by that name.

A sheriff in a neighboring county in 2003 was reported to have asked a state attorney’s office to investigate Turner after the officer was accused of telling the husband of a woman he was reported to be dating that he could “hurt him” and authorities “couldn’t do anything to me.”

Then, in 2016, the Orlando Police Department’s Citizen’s Police Review Board sustained, meaning they upheld, an internal police investigation that found he used excessive force during an arrest.

Records show that in 2015, records show, he earned more than $100,000 a year in salary.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Turner Arrested 2 Kids, One of Whom Was 6-Year-Old Kaia Rolle. Her Grandmother Was Outraged

On Thursday, Sept. 19, in two separate incidents at the privately-owned charter elementary school Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy, Turner arrested Kaia Rolle for allegedly kicking another student. Her grandmother said the child, who she admits has behavioral problems, was handcuffed, placed in a police cruiser, fingerprinted, had a mug shot taken and was transported to a juvenile detention facility.

Turner also arrested an 8-year-old on the same day. That child was returned to the school. The nature of the incident that led Turner to arrest that child is not clear.

But Rolle’s grandmother Meralyn Kirkland told local media that her granddaughter was handcuffed, fingerprinted and her photograph taken by police because of a “tantrum.” She said the child is seeing a therapist to help with behavioral issues she said are related to “sleep deprivation.” She was quoted as saying the girl was “shaking like a leaf” after the arrest. Kirkland said her granddaughter allegedly “kicked somebody yesterday and they’re charging her with battery.”

But for police, the issue is Turner arrested children under the age of 12 without telling a supervisor which is against department policy.

2. Orlando Police Confirmed This Weekend Turner Was Under Investigation & His Duties as a School Officer Suspended, Then Monday Said he Was Fired

Initially, Turner was said to be suspended from his job as a school resource officer. Then late Monday afternoon, it was announced he was fired.

Following a request by Heavy for comment and answers to a number of questions about the incidents and Turner, Orlando Police Lt. Wanda Miglio forwarded a statement from the chief of police.

“On September 19th, An school resource officer, Dennis Turner, was working at a Charter School when he arrested an 8-year-old and a 6-year-old on separate incidents. Both were misdemeanor charges. During the arrest process, a OPD supervisor became aware of the arrest and immediately corrective actions were taken.

Pursuant to the Orlando Police Department policy, the arrest of any person under the age of 12 requires the approval of a Watch Commander (Manager), which was not obtained in this case.

The first transport officer was not aware an approval was not obtained, and the 8-year-old was processed through the Juvenile Assessment Center. The child was released to a family member a short time later.

The second transport officer verified approval was not obtained and the process for the 6-year-old was stopped immediately. The child was returned to the school prior to being processed at the Juvenile Assessment Center.

The officer working at the school is assigned to the Reserve Officer Program and his duties have been suspended pending the outcome of an Internal Investigation.”

3. Of Turner’s Actions, the Orlando Police Chief Said, ‘As a Grandparent of 3 Children Under 11, This is Very Concerning to Me’

Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon took Turner’s actions personally, as a father and grandfather.

“The Orlando Police Department has a policy that addresses the arrest of a minor and our initial finding shows the policy was not followed. As a grandparent of three children less than 11 years old this is very concerning to me. Our Department strives to deliver professional and courteous service. My staff and I are committed to exceeding those standards and expectations.

Monday the State’s Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit addressed the arrests made by Turner.

Aramis D. Ayala said that, “When it comes to little elementary age children, we will not negotiate justice,” on her watch. She said there will be no criminal prosecution for a misdemeanor battery.

4. Turner Was Investigated by Police at Least Twice For Use of Force Concerns

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According to records and reports, in 2003, the sheriff of Seminole County asked that the State’s Attorney’s Office investigate Turner after the officer was accused of telling the husband of a woman he was reported to be dating that he could “hurt him” and authorities “couldn’t do anything to me.” In an Orlando Sentinel report from January of 2003, it was noted that Turner “thumped him in the chest” while telling the man that he wouldn’t get in trouble for threatening him.

Then, in 2016, the Orlando Police Department’s Citizen’s Police Review Board sustained, meaning they upheld, an internal police investigation that found he used excessive force during an arrest.

In a 2016 Orlando Sentinel report on police excessive force, Turner was one of the officers named.

“Dennis Turner, a 20-year department veteran who used a Taser on a man five times. The last two jolts came after the suspect was on the floor and had stopped resisting. Turner was given a written reprimand for excessive force.”

The internal investigation may have been tied to that incident.

5. A 1998 Report Shows an Orlando Police Officer Named Dennis L. Turner Was Charged With Aggravated Child Abuse For Allegedly Beating His 7-Year-Old Son. He Said it Was Discipline

Apopka Florida Police arrested an Orlando Police officer named Dennis L. Turner in May of 1998 charging him with aggravated child abuse in the beating of the cop’s 7-year-old son. The child had “welts and bruises” on his torso and arms. The Orlando Sentinel report from the time said that Turner beat his son after bringing home bad grades.

Then-Orlando Police Sgt. Jeff Goltz told the paper that Turner was suspended pending the outcome of the investigation. Details of the arrest were not immediately available nor was adjudication in the case, if any.

Heavy has made formal requests with the City of Orlando for all of Turner’s records.

Correction: An initial photo showed former Orlando Police Chief John Mina not Turner. The two men were pictured together in an Orlando Police Department tweet from 2018. This author improperly cropped the photo.