Charles Belk, TV Producer, Arrested By Beverly Hills Police For 'Fitting The Description' Of Tall, Bald And Black
Charles Belk, a film and television producer, is furious after he was arrested by the Beverly Hills Police Department on Friday for being tall, bald and black.
Belk had just attended a pre-Emmy party and was going to check his parking meter on LaCienega Blvd on Friday, Aug. 22, when he was stopped by police and arrested on suspicion of robbery. Belk, who recounted his ordeal in a Facebook post on Saturday, claims that he was detained for 6 hours without being informed of the charges against him and was not read his rights, nor was he awarded a phone call when requested.
Police Arrest Black TV Producer For Suspicion Of Robbery
According to the Beverly Hills Police Department, Belk was arrested because he fit the description of a man suspected to have been involved in a nearby robbery committed by the “Purse Packing Bandit.” Belk was handcuffed and made to sit on the curb until he was positively identified by an eye witness and taken into the police station, where he alleges he was fingerprinted and booked without being informed of the reason for his arrest.
“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-identified as the wrong ‘tall, bald head, black male,’” Belk wrote.
Belk, a graduate of USC who has worked as a consultant with the NAACP, said that a friend who witnessed his arrest called a contact at the NAACP and was able to get him an attorney. Eventually, Belk was released when video surveillance video proved he was innocent. While Belk said he understands why the Beverly Hills Police Department stopped him, what he cannot understand is why it took them so long to check the bank’s video surveillance.
“Why, at 11:59 p.m. (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[d] because it was clear that it was not me,” Belk wrote.
In his statement, Belk claims the BHPD “locked me up and took away my civil rights.”
“If I did not have a friend there that saw me…I am convinced that I would still be locked up, without a doubt,” Belk told NBC, thanking his friends and attorney, Jaaye Person-Lynn.
Beverly Hills PD Releases Statement
After Welk’s Facebook statement went viral, the Beverly Hills Police Department were forced to release a statement recounting the arrest. They write that Belk was “positively identified…in a field show-up” while waiting on the curb outside, prompting his official arrest:
“Within minutes of the robbery call being broadcast, police detained a subject less than a block away from the robbery who closely matched the clothing and physical characteristics of the male suspect. After an eye witness positively identified the subject in a field show-up, police arrested Charles Belk for suspicion of robbery. A follow-up investigation by detectives ultimately determined that Mr. Belk was not involved in the robbery and he was released from custody without charges.”
Belk, however, has answered these claims, stating that the witness identification was biased, as Belk was sitting handcuffed when the alleged witness positively identified him.
“The Beverly Hills Police Department said that I was positively identified by an eye witness. Here’s the thing, the witness apparently identified me during a field drive by, presumably, while I was sitting on the curb, handcuffed, blocked by a motorcycle, with my head down,” Belk wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
The Beverly Hills Police Department also apologized for the mix up, but maintained that their officers did everything correctly, and the department stands by their handling of the situation.
“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. However, based on witness accounts, and his location close to the bank, officers properly detained and arrested him based on the totality of the circumstances known at the time of the field investigation,” reads the statement.
Welk, however, continues to fight against the police department. “Time has come for a change in the way OUR law enforcement officers ‘serve and protect’ us,” Belk wrote.
— Charles Belk (@charlesbelk) August 27, 2014
Get the most-revealing celebrity conversations with the uInterview podcast!