During a police stop, a toddler was recorded venturing out of a truck with her hands raised as two adults were arrested in Tallahassee, Florida, on Jan. 17. The Tallahassee Police Department released the police body camera video of the incident a day later.
The video shows “the officer’s concern for the children, and the compassion, as they permitted the mother to care for her children, even though the mother was a suspect,” said Police Chief Michael DeLeo in the video.
Included in the police department’s release was another video recorded from a mobile phone by bystanding civilians who witnessed the incident from across the street.
Were getting a lot of inquiries from people who have only seen one video of our traffic stop involving a small child and potentially armed suspects. Here’s the link to our body cam video. https://t.co/3GriW4FBMG The whole story matters. pic.twitter.com/fE7FHPN6Xu
— Tallahassee Police (@TallyPD) January 21, 2019
Loss Prevention Unit Calls Police
The pull over occurred after shoplifting was reported at Bealls Outlet. Security was told that one of the suspects was carrying what looked like a gun on his waist. Because of this, the outlet’s Loss Prevention officers avoided the confrontation and called the police instead, giving them a description of the suspects, according to the press release.
The suspects in a blue GMC pickup truck were stopped by the police in the outlet’s parking lot. This is where the police body camera video started recording.
“Hey—don’t put her up there because she’s gonna need to deal with the kids, in a minute,” the officer said to his partner who was detaining the mother, who was also at the scene, but not charged.
The male passenger, wearing faded jeans, a lime green shirt, and a black jacket, slowly exited the truck with his hands raised and told the officer that there were no more adults in the vehicle.
It was then that the coffee-haired, bare-foot toddler made her suspenseful descent out of the vehicle and towards the police officers.
Hands Were Raised, Just Like Dad’s
The girl could also be seen descending from the truck in the civilian video, which captured the girl walking toward the officer with her hands raised, copying her father. She hesitated to walk over, so the officer quickly shifted his tone of voice from a firm man of the law to a friendly caregiver.
“Come on over here, sweetie—you’re okay. Mommy’s right here, go to mommy, okay.”
Because the girl still hesitated, the officer allowed the cuffed suspect to turn his body to call the toddler. As she approached, the officer assured her that she wasn’t in trouble, and told her to put her hands down. Her bare feet were then relieved from the concrete as her mom was allowed to pick her up.
Another Child in Carseat
An officer then allowed the mother to retrieve a second child from the car. The gun that was spotted on the suspect during the robbery was later found to be a pellet gun, which was found under the carseat.
Chad M. Bom, 34, and James W. McMullen, 38, were charged with Petit Theft of the second Degree.
The police department reviewed the police body cameras after people voiced their concern about the civilian video that was circulated on social media. The police chief was happy with what he saw.
“After reviewing footage from 10 body-worn cameras, I am proud of how the officers handled the situation, how they adapted when they became aware of the children, and the level of concern and compassion that they showed for the family,” DeLeo said.