Producer Charles Belk was held by Beverly Hills police for nearly six hours last Friday after police mistook him for another bald, black man—one who robbed a Citibank. Belk, visiting for Emmys, was on his way to put money in his parking meter when he was detained and hauled off to a police station.
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"
I get that the Beverly Hills Police Department didn't know that I was an award nominated and awarding winning business professional, most recently being recognized by the Los Angeles Business Journal at their Nonprofit & Corporate Citizenship Awards. They didn't need to because, they saw someone fitting the description.
Police, meanwhile, in a statement released to the Los Angeles Times, maintain that Belk was "properly detained" given the "totality of the circumstances." Belk was arrested by police, officials say, because he "matched the physical characteristics of the second suspect and was in the area of the bank shortly after the robbery." A witness apparently identified Belk as the suspect.
"The Beverly Hills Police Department deeply regrets the inconvenience to Mr. Belk and has reached out to him to express those regrets and further explain the circumstances," police said in their statement.
But according to Belk's account, police were reluctant to review security footage of the robbery:
What I don't get………WHAT I DON"T GET, is, why, during the 45 minutes that they had me on the curb, handcuffed in the sun, before they locked me up and took away my civil rights, that they could not simply review the ATM and bank's HD video footage to clearly see that the "tall, bald headed, black male"… did not fit MY description.
Why, at 11:59pm (approximately 6 hours later), was the video footage reviewed only after my request to the Lead Detective for the Beverly Hills Police Department and an FBI Agent to do so, and, after being directly accused by another FBI Special Agent of "…going in and out of the bank several times complaining about the ATM Machine to cause a distraction…" thereby aiding in the armed robbery attempt of a bank that I never heard of, or ever been to; and within 10 minutes……10 MINUTES, my lawyer was told that I was being release because it was clear that it was not me.
"If something like this can happen to ME, it can certainly happen to ANYONE!," Belk wrote.