I understand Charles Belk's anger. He was not guilty of any crime but got detained for six hours, missed a pre Emmy celebrity party, and had his vehicle impounded over a case of mistaken identity. The Beverly Hills Police Department had a report of a tall, bald, black male involved in a bank robbery. Mr. Belk was near by where the crime occurred and fit the description. On that basis of that general description they arrested Belk.
I can understand the police initially stopping Belk given his appearance and description. Obviously the initial stopping was racially motivated (in a proper way) because the police were looking for a black male and Belk met the general description and was in the vicinity of the crime.
But it took the BHPD six hours to figure out that Belk was not the suspect (and it is alleged the BHPD did not allow Belk to call his attorney)? Some of this may be timing, 5:20 p.m. on a Friday is probably not a good time to get arrested and timely cleared of a crime you did not commit. And as noted at this legal aid site, booking in New York City can often can take "four to six hours." Hmmm, Is that true for Beverly Hills too? Still, the question is would this have happened the same way if Belk happened to be a white guy who generally matched a suspect's description? I suspect the answer to that is it depends.
I know people are jumping to racial accusations especially in the light of Ferguson, but I would be furious too if detained for six hours over something like this. "A witness to the robbery allegedly identified Belk as the thieves accomplice, leading to his detention," but I doubt the BHPD did a full line up. They do full line ups for a reason. Witnesses can end up IDing the wrong person if shown just a person who generally matches the description of the suspect. Eyewitness IDs are notoriously inaccurate.
I would really like to know how long it took the BHPD to first let Belk contact his lawyer and from then how long it took the attorney to inform the BHPD who Mr. Belk was.
I am not sure if Axel Foley is available for comment: