Florida lawmakers rally behind 6-year-old who was arrested at school

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) – After body cam video of a 6-year-old being arrested in Florida went viral, state lawmakers are on the verge of passing legislation that would require every law enforcement agency in the state to have a policy on arresting anyone younger than ten.

Sponsors call it a humble beginning.

Body camera footage of 6-year-old Kaia Rolle being arrested last September went viral.

For a solid two minutes, sobbing is heard on the body cam video.

Kaia begins to cry as the officer puts zip ties on her wrists, asking for help. “Please let me go,” she asks the officer as she continues to cry.

“I don’t want to go to the police car,” she tells the officer putting her in the back as she sobs, begging to be let go, the video shows.

“Come on lets, go. You can tell me what happened in the car,” the officer responded.

On Wednesday, Kaia and her grandmother Marilyn Kirkland came to the Capitol pushing for change.

“To have a police officer on the line telling you that your six-year-old baby, my granddaughter Kaia, was arrested and I just couldn’t process it,” said Kirkland.

Kaia has been diagnosed with PTSD, is seeing a therapist, and has transferred to a private school with a state scholarship.

“At any point in her life, at age 20, they think she could be driving down the road and is pulling over for a traffic infraction and have a flashback,” said Kirkland.

Lawmakers now say young arrests happen far more often than they realized.

“In my district, we arrested 53 eight-year-olds. This is standard operating procedure,” said St.Petersburg Rep. Wengay Newton.

The legislation went nowhere in committee, but a last-minute amendment tagged onto this year’s school safety bill would require every law enforcement agency to have a written policy that requires a supervisory authority to arrest anyone under ten.

The House passed the legislation 118-0 Wednesday and it will now go to the Senate.

Ironically, the policy about to become law was in place, but not followed in Kaia’s arrest, but supporters say the legislation is a starting place and better than nothing.

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