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August 23, 2019

Tallahassee police release bodycam footage after video appears to show cops point gun at 2-year-old girl

January 20, 2019
Tallahassee Police Department released the Body Cam footage on Facebook. (Tallahassee Police Department)

The Tallahassee Police Department released body cam footage of a recent traffic stop in order to quell criticism that erupted online over a passerby’s video that appeared to show police aim their guns at a 2-year-old girl.

The video, released Friday, first starts with the bystander’s video, which is shot from across the street.

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A toddler can be seen exiting a blue pick-up truck with her hands up, and continues moving toward a group of officers until she is eventually scooped up. The women filming the video say the cops are pointing a gun at the child, though a tree branch blocks the view.

Chief Michael DeLeo, however, said his officers’ body came footage shows a different perspective of the same incident, explaining that the truck was stopped because of a report of a theft by an armed suspect at a nearby store.

A Loss Prevention officer from the store reported that one of the suspects had a gun in his waistband, and provided the suspects’ description and vehicle to police.

“They stopped the vehicle and were following their training as they had the suspected armed adults step out of the truck, when unexpectedly a 2-year-old girl climbed out of the truck and imitated her parents by walking to the officers with her hands raised,” DeLeo said.

“The videos show the human side of the officers as they interact with the children and one of the officers realizes he’s not quite sure how to handle the carseat. The mom, who is a suspect, asks the officer to hold her 2-year-old while she’s allowed to retrieve the infant from the car seat.”

DeLeo said officers found a gun in the backseat, though it turned out only to be a pellet gun.

Chad Bom, 34, and James McMullen, 38, were charged with second degree theft.

Compared with the bystander’s video, the body cam footage shows a much gentler side to the cops, who can be heard calmly speaking to the toddler in a cooing voice.

“Hey come on, sweetie, you’re OK, you’re OK,” one of the officers tells her. “You’re OK, come here! Mommy’s right there, go to Mommy, OK. She’s right there, can you see her?”

The male suspect, who says he also has a 1-year-old son in the car, is granted permission to call to his daughter, which he does.

The officers continue to urge the child to drop her hands until her mother, who is without handcuffs, walks over and picks her up.

The video ends with an officer attempting to remove the 1-year-old from his carseat, though eventually the child’s mother comes over and does it herself before police move in to recover the pellet gun.

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