Shocking footage has emerged of the moment a toddler walks out from a ute with her hands up as she walks towards armed officers with their guns raised.
Police in Florida say they had pulled over suspected shoplifters Chad M. Bom and James W. McMullen in Tallahassee on Thursday, who police believed were armed.
The clip shows a man and woman exit the vehicle with their hands above their head, before their two-year-old daughter then imitates her parents and clambers out of the passenger’s door and walks towards the officers barefoot.
The video was uploaded to Facebook last week, with officers heavily scrutinised for raising their weapons in the presence of a child.
While it is unclear from the footage if officers aimed their weapons at the child, Tallahassee police has since released further footage of the incident from officers’ bodycams.
In the bodycam footage the officer can be heard asking who is left in the vehicle.
The man tells the officer his two children – his two-year-old daughter and his one-year-old son – are still in the vehicle, the officer then tries to coax the girl towards him and allows her mother to come over and pick her up.
“The body camera footage shows the officers’ concern for the children and their compassion as they permitted the mother to care for the children,” Police Chief Michael DeLeo told The Tallahassee Democrat.
“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.”
The department initially said the incident was under review but reminded the public viewers of the original footage had “only seen one point of view”.
McMullen and Bom have since been charged for shoplifting.