As countless police officers continue to negatively objectify Black men, the case of prominent Hollywood producer Charles Belk (pictured) is a shining example of how out of control the situation has become. Belk was reportedly leaving an L.A. eatery last Friday, when he was suddenly swarmed by six Beverly Hills police cruisers and the then reportedly handcuffed without explanation for six hours because he allegedly “matched the physical characteristics of the second suspect and was in the area of the bank shortly after the robbery,” a police press release stated according to KTLA.
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?
The department reportedly referred to the Belk incident as “regrettable,” according to KTLA, and released the following statement:
“The Beverly Hills Police Department regrets the inconvenience to Mr. Belk, but was under obligation to thoroughly verify that he was not the suspect before releasing him.”
There were two alleged robbers involved in the bank heist, Brianna Kloutse, 47, who is suspected in 11 recent bank robberies in the Los Angeles area was placed into custody last Friday. The other robbery suspect whom police mistakenly thought was Belk is still at large.