The Tallahassee Police Department was forced to release body cam footage of a recent incident when a passerby’s cell phone video went viral.
The viral clip shows a toddler exiting from a vehicle and walking to the police with her hands up over her head. Officers can be seen with their weapons drawn.
Once the video hit social media, the public showed warranted concern about what happened to prompt such behavior from the toddler and police. In response, police decided to release two body camera videos, issue a statement and initiate an internal review of the ordeal.
The situation started on January 17th. Employees at Bealls on Capital Circle Northeast called police to report an incident of theft. They also told authorities the suspect had a firearm in his waistband.
Police arrived, and they located the vehicle with the shoplifting suspect inside. Police drew their weapons towards the vehicle and told the adults to exit the car with their hands in the air.
Police body camera footage shows two men exiting the car and complying with demands when suddenly a two-year-old child jumps out of the car. She imitates her parents by raising her hands and walking towards the officers.
Although the bystander’s footage looked condemning, the police body cam footage told another story. Police immediately lowered their weapons, and one officer can be heard saying, “You’re okay, come over her sweetie…Sweetie, put your hands down, you’re fine.”
The child’s mother was nearby, and she immediately rushed over to help her youngster. Another one-year-old was also strapped in the backseat of the vehicle.
Police apprehended the two suspects who were identified as Chad M. Bom and James W. McMullen. They were charged with theft.