Houston (HOUSTON) — Houston Police are being accused of racial profiling after handcuffing and bringing a girl to Child Protective Services who was with her two dance partners — assuming she was a runaway.
“Are you aware your daughter is with two black men?” the officer asked the shocked parents of 13-year old Tulsa, Okla. Dancer Landry Thompson.
“‘Yes, I’m aware of that,’” Destiny Thompson, Landry’s mother, told KHOU-TV. “He called into questioning our parenting.”
Landry Thompson, who was in Houston to film a hip-hop dance video and stay at a local dance academy, was stopped at the Texas gas station around 3 a.m. Sunday, with her 29-year old dance instructor Emmanuel Hurd, along with dance partner, 22-year old Josiah Kelly.
They made the trip from Tulsa to Houston for work on a Planet Funk Academy hip-hop videotaping. Landry’s parents had asked Hurd to look after her as she made one of many travels she takes across the country for dance. But police were skeptical of the trio’s story.
“Emmanuel had a letter signed by us, had every contact number they could’ve possibly needed, he had her insurance card, he had her original birth certificate, not a copy,” Landry’s mother told KHOU.
Houston police did not believe the scanned, faxed driver’s licenses from Landry’s parents and handcuffed and put all three of them into the back of a patrol car.
“Sir, I will dance for you right now,” Landry told police.
But police were untrusting of the trio and the corroborating story from her parents.
“[The officer] puts the handcuffs on very, very tight [and] throws me in the back and does the same to Josiah,” Hurd told ABC News. “All the while I’m looking at Landry. She’s terrified.”
The two men were released, and Landry was taken to Child Protective Services, where they waited in the lobby for her release six hours later.
In a follow-up story from KHOU, Hurd said he told officers he had “a notarized letter from her parents stating that we have full guardianship over her while we’re here.”
In a statement to KHOU, the Houston Police Department said, “Given the age discrepancies…and the child had no relatives in the area, officers in an abundance of caution, did their utmost to ensure her safety” and sent her to CPS.