BEVERLY HILLS—Charles Belk, an African-American TV producer was wrongfully arrested in August as he was exiting a restaurant. The Beverly Hills Police Department wrongfully identified him for an armed criminal and accused him of an armed bank robbery and accessory to the robbery of a Citibank.
Belk detailed his nightmarish, “life altering” experience via a Facebook post, which read, “I was surrounded by 6 police cars, handcuffed very tightly, fully searched for weapons, and placed back on the curb. Within an hour, I was transported to the Beverly Hills Police Headquarters, photographed, finger printed and put under a $100,000 bail and accused of armed bank robbery and accessory to robbery of a Citibank.”
The Beverly Hills Police Department, in response to their disconcerting blunder, said they will implement protocols that will ensure a quick review of evidence that could potentially exonerate people who have been arrested.
Belk offered to work with the Beverly Hills Police Department to produce a training video based on the “lessons learned” from his experience. He also offered to make appearances at BHPD seminars discussing “the perspectives of an innocent man who has been detained.” Belk is also pushing for changes in legislation that would help victims of wrongful arrests expunge their unwarranted criminal records.
In a release, the Beverly Hills Police Department stated, “[We] deeply regret the inconvenience to Mr. Belk and [we have] reached out to him to express those regrets and further explain the circumstances. However, based on witness accounts, and his location close to the bank, officers properly detained and arrested him based on the totality of the circumstances known at the time of the field investigation.”
Belk said that his only crime was fitting the description of a “tall, bald head, black male…”