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Dance Instructor Arrested Because He’s Black
Was it a mere case of suspicious age discrepancy that inspired police to arrest two black dancers and their 13-year-old white student, or was it a case of racial profiling? The student, Landry Thomson, from Tulsa Okla., had fallen asleep in the car of her dance instructor, as the three stopped at a gas station to catch their breath. The girl was in good care, and furthermore, the dance instructor, Emmanuel Hurd, had been given protective guardianship over the girl, as her parents put her in his trust, and not only that, but gave a notarized letter, in case there were any question as to his legitimacy, while he took her to a series of dance instructions.
The letter, apparently, was not enough, because though Hurd tried repeatedly to explain his legitimate guardianship of his student, police nevertheless arrested him and also cuffed the girl and hoisted her off to child protective services.
“They just pulled us out of the car. Put our hands behind our backs like we were criminals,” said Hurd, as reported by the Huffington Post. “He asked me who’s the girl. She’s my student. I said I had a notarized letter from her parents stating that we have full guardianship over her while we’re here.”
“I was horrified,” Destiny Thompson, the girls’ mother, told KHOU-TV. “She was with the people I wanted her to be with. Emmanuel had a letter signed by us, had every contact number they couldv’e possibly needed; he had her insurance card; he had her original birth certificate, not a copy. She was with people I trusted, and now she was taken away from those people and in a shelter with people I didn’t know. I would love an apology.”
The Houston Police Department may be too stubborn to admit they did wrong. “Given the age discrepancies,” they said, “and the child had no relatives in the area, officers in an abundance of caution, did their utmost to ensure her safety,” as they explained in a statement.
“Abundance of caution” is an understatement. It took several hours of negotiation and explanation for Hurd to regain his guardianship of the girl. Meanwhile, everybody was jostled and scared, unnecessarily.
“This was literally one of the worst experiences of my life,” Hurd wrote on Facebook. “To watch my student go through that right in front of me and there was nothing I could do about it.”
While the police claim this was not a case of racial profiling, one has to wonder if a white man were asleep at a gas station in a car with a white 13-year-old girl, and there was a question whether he was a relative, would the police at least let the man explain the situation, or would they cuff him no matter what he said?
Imagesource: the Raw StoryDance Instructor Arrested Because He’s Black by Daniel June