Image from a police body camera showing a 2-year-old girl walking towards officers in Tallahassee, Fla., with her hands in the air. Police said the child was imitating her parents at the time. (Tallahassee Police Department)
A 2-year-old girl seen last week in a viral video walking toward officers with her hands in the air was imitating her parents at the time, Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo said in response to an outcry over the incident.
“Okay sweetie, put your hands down, you’re fine,” an officer was heard saying in police body-camera footage released Friday. “You’re fine, come on to mommy.”
DiLeo said the toddler “unexpectedly” climbed out of the pickup after her parents had been pulled over Thursday in response to a report of a theft by an armed suspect.
He said the girl then “imitated her parents by walking to the officers with her hands raised.”
DeLeo made the comments on the department’s Facebook page after two witnesses recorded the incident on a phone and posted the video on social media, WCTV reported.
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“He’s holding a gun at the baby,” a woman was heard saying in the video.
Despite the negative reaction on social media, DeLeo said the officers acted appropriately.
“I am proud of how officers handled the situation, how they adapted when they became aware of the children, the level of concern and compassion they showed to the family,” he said, as the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
The chief said police found a weapon in the pickup that turned out to be a pellet gun.
He also said officers removed a 1-year-old who was in the pickup in a child’s car seat.
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The children’s parents, Chad Bom, 34, and James McMullen, 38, were charged with shoplifting from a clothing store.
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