During a summer where racial tensions between law enforcement and Black men have been heavily publicized from the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford, and Ezell Ford — all controversially killed by police — the Beverly Hills Police Department’s false arrest of Hollywood TV producer and Harvard graduate, Charles Belk, further shows the issue of being Black in America; guilty until proven innocent.
The 51-year-old Harvard grad and award-winning executive claims he was not told why he was arrested, denied a phone call, and barred from speaking to his attorney at length.
Belk, who posted a Facebook picture of himself, handcuffed and sitting on a concrete curb in the hot blazing sun with two White officers standing guard over him, was booked on a $100,000 bail. He says that the officers treated him contemptibly and only released him when they realized he looked nothing like the accused robber.
The photo of Belk, which has been shared via the social network some 30,000 times, is also accompanied by his written outrage at the way he was targeted:
“I get that the Beverly Hills Police Department didn’t know that I was a well-educated American citizen that had received a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California, an MBA from Indiana University … and an executive leadership certificate from Harvard Business School,” Belk’s statement read. “Hey, I was ‘tall,’ ‘bald,’ a ‘male’ and ‘black,’ so I fit the description.”
“Within an hour, I was transported to the Beverly Hills Police Headquarters, photographed, fingerprinted and put under a $100,000 bail and accused of armed bank robbery and accessory to robbery of a Citibank.”
“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.”
What did the Beverly Hills police department have to say about their faux pas? Read more…
Image from Charles Belk’s Facebook