Going to Harvard and winning an Emmy Award does not mean you don’t rob people. Well at least that is what the cops in Los Angeles think. During the Emmy weekend, television producer Charles Belk was detained for 6 hours. He was accused of robbing a bank. Police said he fit the description of a suspect in a recent robbery. Black and Bald are two very common characteristics that many men have. Belk was handcuffed and forced to sit on the curb while the police figure out if they got the right guy. He was embarrassed and disgusted.
Once released and cleared of all charges Belk expressed his feelings about the whole thing
WHEN YOU “FIT THE DESCRIPTION”!
It’s one of those things that you hear about, but never think it would happen to you.
On Friday afternoon, August 22nd around 5:20pm, while innocently walking by myself from a restaurant on Wilshire Blvd, to my car up LaCienega Blvd my freedom was taken from me by the Beverly Hills Police Department.
Within seconds, I was detained and told to sit on the curb of the very busy street, during rush hour traffic.
Within minutes, I was surrounded by 6 police cars, handcuffed very tightly, fully searched for weapons, and placed back on the curb.
Within an hour, I was transported to the Beverly Hills Police Headquarters, photographed, finger printed and put under a $100,000 bail and accused of armed bank robbery and accessory to robbery of a Citibank.
Within an evening, I was wrongly arrested, locked up, denied a phone call, denied explanation of charges against me, denied ever being read my rights, denied being able to speak to my lawyer for a lengthy time, and denied being told that my car had been impounded…..All because I was mis-indentified as the wrong “tall, bald head, black male,” … “fitting the description.”
I get that the Beverly Hills Police Department didn’t know at the time that I was a law abiding citizen of the community and that in my 51 years of existence, had never been handcuffed or arrested for any reason. All they saw, was someone fitting the description. Doesn’t matter if he’s a “Taye Diggs BLACK”, a “LL Cool J BLACK”, or “a Drake BLACK”
Police and community realtions have definitely seen better days. I am just happy that Mr. Belk is alive and well to tell his story. On the heels of the Ferguson, Missouri protest for the slain teenager Mike Brown, this recent profiling incident just proves that all police departments need to do better.