Thursday, August 28, 2014

Was Charles Belk's detention by the Beverly Hills Police Department unreasonable and racially motivated?

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: 


  1. Hard to imagine that the BHPD was so full of arrestees at 6 PM on a Friday that the 6-hour delay was reasonable.Surely most of their business involves drunk drivers, which are scarce at that hour even in BH. I'm guessing that they stalled so that they could get an ID from a "witness" before his lawyer could get him released from custody.

    I didn't see how many people pulled off the bank robbery. If it was a solo job, wouldn't the absence of a gun or a bag o' cash give the cops a clue that this might not be their guy?

    But most of all, the visuals of that pic are rated "Not Good".

    1. I am skeptical of the BHPD excuse, but I wait and see. It is possible he had a hard time finding his attorney on a Friday night.

    2. Of course, how hard would it have been for the BHPD to verify his story if they really tried. My guess, not that hard.

    3. Yes, we wait and see. But I think we can also ask questions.

      Such as…Does the BHPD have internet access? Have they ever heard of IMDb?

    4. I was typing while you posted that last comment, Evi. GMTA.

  2. At least they didn't send a SWAT team to Kareem's house on the basis of that description.

    Credit where credit is due.

  3. Hey, speaking of the Emmys…I was kinda hoping for a Sophia Vergara Rule 5 post.


  4. Was he trying to fake his way into Viktor Maitland's office?


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