Viral eyewitness video captured the heartbreaking moment that a two-year-old toddler got out of her father’s car and walked towards gun-wielding police with her hands raised.
Immediate reactions berated the police for pointing their guns at the child, with people in the eyewitness video saying officers were “holding the gun at the baby.”
The initial clip racked up over 100,000 views over the weekend, forcing Tallahassee Police to release bodycam footage, following an internal investigation, to assuage public fears that police brutality had reached a new low.
“Put your hands in the air” and “Get out of the truck,” armed officers can be heard yelling at the vehicle. Amazingly, a barefoot toddler alights from the vehicle with her hands raised and walks calmly towards the arresting officer, mimicking her parents.
The bodycam footage shows that the arresting officers lowered their weapons as the two suspects were taken into custody.
“Are there any other adults in the car?” the officer asks in the bodycam footage.
“No sir,” the man under arrest replies. “Just my two-year-old daughter and one-year-old son.”
The suspects, Chad M. Bom and James W. McMullen, were arrested on suspicion of shoplifting after employees at a local store called the police, adding that they believed at least one of the men was armed.
An arresting officer, along with the child’s mother and her arrested husband, all attempt to coax the girl away from the truck.
“Sweetie, you put your hands down. You’re fine. You’re fine. C’mon to Mommy,” the officer said.
“The body camera footage shows the officers’ concern for the children and their compassion as they permitted the mother to care for the children,” Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo said of the incident. “The mom, who is a suspect, asks an officer to hold her two-year-old as she retrieves the infant from a car seat.”
A pellet gun was found in the back seat of the truck beside the one-year-old infant. Both male suspects were charged with petty theft, but the woman was released without charge.
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