Video shows toddler walking to police in Florida with hands up during arrest, police investigating
Tallahassee police released body camera footage on Friday, in response to a social media video alleging police had their guns raised as a toddler exited a vehicle with her hands up during an arrest.
According to police, officers had responded Thursday for a shoplifting call. Police received information that one of the suspects had what “appeared to be a gun in their waistband.”
They received information about the suspects and their vehicle, and when they arrived, were able to stop the suspects in the parking lot and detain the individuals inside.
In the social media video, a man can be seen ordered out of the vehicle before a toddler can be seen slowly trying to exit. She eventually gets out of the truck and begins walking towards police with her hands raised, which police say was her “imitating” her parents.
WATCH: Video released by Tallahassee police shows officers taking care of child who exited car with hands up
The people in the video question why police are “holding a gun at the baby,” while another person remarks they’re holding a gun on the vehicle. When the video was first released, it was unclear whether the officers pointed their guns at the child.
However, body camera footage released by police shows that after the man exits, police ask him who else is in the car, to which he says is his two-year-old daughter and one-year-old. They then lower their weapons as they take the man into custody and one officer begins speaking to the girl, who has “unexpectedly” exited the vehicle.
“Hey, come on sweetie, you’re OK,” the officer says. “Mommy’s right there, go to mommy OK … She’s right there, can you see her?”
He then allows the father to help coax the girl towards her mother, while the officer tells her she can put her hands down.
The mother then comes over and picks the girl up as they walk over to the suspect’s vehicle.
Looking inside, the officer notices the infant child in the car seat and allows the mother to help the baby, while another officer holds the two-year-old.
They then investigate the vehicle, looking for the alleged weapon.
The weapon allegedly turned out to be a pellet gun.
“The body camera footage shows the officers’ concern for the children and their compassion as they permitted the mother to care for her children,” Chief Michael DeLeo says in a video posted to the department’s Facebook.
“The mom, who is a suspect, asks an officer to hold her two-year-old as she retrieves the infant from a car seat.”
In the video, DeLeo said that the incident caused concern among residents as the social media video circulated. By releasing the body camera footage, though, it helps stress “the value of body-worn cameras providing different perspectives of the same instant,” he said.
Prior to the release of body camera footage, police told the Tallahassee Democrat it was reviewing its body-cam footage in order to determine what happened.
Police say Chad M. Bom and James W. McMullen were both arrested in the parking lot and charged with theft.
The department did not say if the mother was facing any charges, despite the chief referring to her as a “suspect” in the video.
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