News with Ann Tripp
Harvard-educated film producer on way to Emmys party mistaken for bank robber; Beverly Hills cops detain him for 6 hours
He was supposed to spend the night at a swanky Emmys party — not in a holding cell.
Police in Beverly Hills detained an innocent, Harvard-educated movie producer on his way to a Friday Emmys celebration because he "fit the description" of a wanted bank robber, he claimed.
Charles Belk, who has also helped organized the NAACP Image awards, said police investigating a nearby bank robbery held him for six hours, while denying him a phone call and even an explanation as to why he was under investigation.
"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.'"
Belk said he was walking to his car around 5:30 p.m. Friday so he could check the time left on his parking meter. The 51-year-old had just finished a meal at his a Los Angeles restaurant and was due to attend the Emmys pre-party later that night.
Suddenly, officers approached him and demanded he sit on the curb.
Belk obeyed, and cops searched him, handcuffed him and took him to police. The officers never told him why he was being investigated, he claimed.
At the police station, police denied him a phone call and didn't let him speak to his lawyer, Belk said.
It wasn't until midnight — six hours after Belk's nightmare began — that police reviewed the video surveillance tapes and realized they had the wrong guy.
Belk said he believes he was detained because he shared a few, loose physical characteristics with the wanted man: He's tall, black and bald, too.
"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 was 'tall,' 'bald' a 'male' and 'black,' so I fit the description."
Belk holds an electrical engineering degree from the University of Southern California and an MBA from Indiana University, he said. He also earned an executive leadership certificate from Harvard's Business School.
He's worked as a film producer and has helped organized at least four NAACP Image award shows, according to his IMDb page.
The police department apologized to Belk, but in a statement to Los Angeles' KTLA, it explained its officers were just following procedure.
"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.
Police did arrest one suspect for Friday's bank robbery: 47-year-old Brianna Klouste, who is wanted for at least 10 other California incidents, police said.
They never found the suspect who "fit" Belk's description.