Police in Tallahassee, Florida, responded to a video of a toddler exiting a truck with her hands up over her head, mimicking her parents’ arrest, and walking toward officers who had their guns drawn, by releasing body camera footage taken from a different angle, WCTV reported.
The incident took place Thursday, and after the cellphone video taken by a passerby during a shoplifting arrest went viral, Tallahassee police Chief Michael DeLeo released several clips from officer body cameras, the Tallahassee Democrat reported. DeLeo said 10 different body camera angles were used in reviewing the incident.
"I believe that incidents like this justify our investment in body worn cameras and the importance of getting all the facts," DeLeo said in a video released on the Police Department’s official Facebook page.
The video released by the Tallahassee police shows the original video that went viral, followed by a statement from DeLeo about the incident. It ends with the body camera footage.
On Thursday afternoon, Chad M. Bom, 34, and James W. McMullen, 38, were charged with theft from a Bealls Outlet store in Tallahassee, according to the news release posted on the Police Department’s Facebook page. Both men were charged with petit theft, the Democrat reported. The mother of the toddler was at the scene
Police had responded to reports of a theft by an armed suspect at the Bealls shopping outlet around 4:30 p.m. and pulled over a truck. They were surprised when the toddler got out and began to mimic her parents, WCTV reported.
"It's OK, sweetie. You don't have to put your hands up," one officer can be heard saying in the body camera footage.
Footage also showed the police allowing the child’s mother to hold the baby while they found a pellet gun in the back seat of the vehicle near a 1-year-old boy who was still strapped into his car seat, WCTV reported.
DeLeo said he was "proud" of his officers' response, adding he felt they showed compassion for the family.
“This video footage captures the compassion demonstrated by our TPD officers during an intense situation. I’m very proud of their actions and appreciative of the work these men and women do each day to keep our community safe,” Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey said in a statement.
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