A viral video came out of Tallahassee, Fla., on Saturday, Jan. 19 after police officers conducting a felony vehicle stop were recorded by a passerby. In the video, a man comes out of the pickup truck with his hands up. As the officers are taking him into custody, a 2-year-old girl also exits the truck. She puts her hands up over her head and walks toward the officers. The person recording the video says, “They is holding a gun at the baby.”
The video went viral, with hundreds criticizing the officers for pointing their guns at a baby and making her walk out of the truck. But that’s not what happened.
To curtail the critics, the Tallahassee Police Department released body camera footage from the officers as well as details regarding the reason for the original vehicle stop.
Apparently, daddy was involved in a theft from a store and was seen by loss prevention officers to be in possession of a handgun in his waistband. The officers located the vehicle and made a felony stop. Both mother and father were ordered out of the vehicle. The little girl on her own decided to exit and imitated her parents.
The body camera footage shows officers treating the child with care and compassion, even allowing the uncuffed mother to pick up the child. In the vehicle was another 1-year-old.
The gun was located and found to be a replica. The child getting out of the truck with her hands up is both cute and heartbreaking. She is simply imitating what she saw her parents do. According to the Tallahassee PD, the father was charged with theft and the children were released to the custody of their mother.
It’s easy to make a snap judgment before all the facts are known. Kudos to the Tallahassee Police Department for being proactive at quickly getting the correct information out.
Joe is a retired police captain. You can reach him at email@example.com