A television and film producer’s first-person account of his mistaken arrest by Beverly Hills police has attracted widespread attention, KTLA-TV reported on Tuesday.
Charles Belk’s story has been shared just under 30,000 times since being posted on his Facebook page on Saturday. According to his post, Belk was walking to his car on La Cienega Boulevard when he was detained and ordered to sit on the curb.
A picture accompanying the post shows Belk seated and handcuffed with two officers standing near him. Belk stated that six police cars were near him at the time.
“Within an hour, I was transported to the Beverly Hills Police Headquarters, photographed, finger printed and put under a $100,000 bail and accused of armed bank robbery and accessory to robbery of a Citibank,” he wrote. “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.'”
Belk was released six hours later after the FBI and local officers reviewed video footage when it showed he was not the suspect. KTLA reported that that person, who has not been identified, remains at large. Another suspect, 47-year-old Brianna Kloutse, was taken into custody. Kloutse is also suspected of being involved in 11 other bank robberies.
“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,” police said in a statement.
However, Belk questioned in his letter why it took so long for the department to review the tape during the 45 minutes in which he was being detained on the street.
“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,'” he wrote. “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.”
Watch KTLA’s report on Belk’s arrest, as aired on Tuesday, below.