Beverly Hills police mistook a Harvard-educated film producer for a bank robber described simply as tall, bald and black, detaining him for six hours on Friday.
Charles Belk, who has also helped organize at least four NAACP Image awards, was on his way to an Emmy party when he was stopped by police around 5:20 p.m. Belk, 51, says police denied his right to a phone call and gave him no explanation as to why he was being held.
"It's one of those things that you hear about, but never think it would happen to you," Belk wrote on his Facebook page. "All because I was mis-indentified as the wrong 'tall, bald head, black male.'"
“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,” Belk said in a statement.
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Police didn’t review video surveillance tapes of the robbery until midnight, six hours after taking Belk into custody. That’s when they realized he didn’t look like their suspect after all.
"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,'" Belk wrote. "I was 'tall,' 'bald' a 'male' and 'black,' so I fit the description."
Belk’s Facebook post was shared more than 30,000 times.
The police department apologized to him, but in a statement to KTLA they said they followed procedure in this incident.
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"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," the statement said.
Cops never found the suspect matching Belk’s description, the Daily News reported.
Image credit: Facebook