Cellphone footage taken by a passerby on Thursday captured a bizarre scene in Florida after a little girl crawled out of a pickup truck with her hands up, after her parents were detained by police close to a busy intersection.
The Tallahassee Democrat reports the incident happened off of Capital Circle Northeast in Tallahassee, close to the Bealls store parking lot, after the little girl’s father was pulled over on suspicion of shoplifting. Authorities arrested Chad M. Bom, 34, and James W. McMullen, 38, after a store employee reportedly told police one of the suspects had a gun in his waistband.
As the little girl’s parents were taken out of the vehicle and detained by the officers’ patrol cars, a passerby recorded a video of the toddler girl climbing out of the truck without shoes on. The little girl then started walking toward the officers with her hands held in the air.
The passerby recording the incident told someone next to her that it appeared that the officer was pointing a gun at the toddler as she made her way to her parents.
Passberby: “She’s trying to get out but she can’t because she’s little. She is out. Oh, she’s holding her hands up. Oh my God, look at that. Oh my God.”
Second person: “They’re still holding the gun at the baby.”
Passerby: “Naw, they’re not doing that little girl like that. She put her hands on the back of her head. Where are her parents?”
Look at the baby 😢😢
Posted by Bernard M. Stevens Jr. on Thursday, January 17, 2019
The video sparked outrage on social media and quickly went viral, prompting officers with the Tallahassee Police Department to release their bodycam footage which, according to the officers, showed a different view of what actually transpired.
“The body camera footage shows the officers’ concern for the children and their compassion as they permitted the mother to care for the children,” TPD Chief Michael DeLeo said. “The mom, who is a suspect, asks an officer to hold her 2-year-old as she retrieves the infant from a car seat.”
DeLeo added that the footage released by officers “justify the investment in body-worn cameras, the importance of all the facts and the professionalism of your officers.”
Authorities found a pellet gun inside the suspect’s truck. Another infant, a 1-year-old, was also in the truck. Both children were unharmed.
Both suspects were arrested on petty theft charges.
Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Screenshot/TPD]