Toddler walks towards armed police during arrest of suspected shoplifters in Florida

20 January 2019, 14:10 | Updated: 20 January 2019, 18:26

Footage has gone viral of the moment a barefooted toddler walked towards armed police with her hands up after officers pulled over a couple of suspected shoplifters in Florida.

One witness captured the incident on their mobile phone, which shows the young girl, two, emerging from a pickup truck and making her way up the road as if she was surrendering.

Police said they were arresting shoplifting suspects at the time and that the parents of the girl were among them.

The person filming as they watched the drama unfold in Tallahassee on Thursday can be heard saying: "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."

The 90-second clip spread across social media, prompting the Tallahassee Police Department (TPD) to review 10 pieces of body camera footage to determine whether the officers had acted appropriately.

It showed them lowering their weapons as they took a man into custody, with the girl having unexpectedly got out of the truck and began walking towards them.

An officer can be heard asking the man: "Are there any other adults in the car?"

He replies: "No sir. Just my two-year-old daughter and one-year-old son."

TPD Chief Michael DeLeo told the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper that the force was satisfied the officers had not done anything wrong during the incident.

"The body camera footage shows the officers' concern for the children and their compassion as they permitted the mother to care for the children," he said.

"The mother, who is a suspect, asks an officer to hold her two-year-old as she retrieves the infant from a car seat."

Mr DeLeo said he was "proud" of the "concern and compassion" they showed, and said the perspective offered by the police clips "justify the investment in body-worn camera" and "the importance of all the facts".

Two arrests were made as a result of the ordeal, with employees at a Bealls home store having reported a theft and that one of the suspects had a gun in his waistband.

Chad M Bom and James W McMullen were taken into custody on shoplifting charges and police said a pellet gun was found in the back seat during a search of the truck.