13-year-old Landry Thompson traveled to Houston for a training session with some of the best dancers in the industry. Thompson, accompanied by dance instructor Emanuel Hurd and another dancer, stopped at what should have been a routine gas station stop for a brief nap before heading back home to Oklahoma. The trio ended up surrounded by police officers, with Thompson being hauled off to Child Protective Services.
“We were on the GPS trying to figure out where the hotel was. And we sat there and we dozed off.” They said before they knew it, the police showed up and surrounded the car. “They just pulled us out of the car and put our hands behind our backs like we were criminals,” added Hurd. “The officer asked me ‘who’s the girl?’ and I said ‘she’s my student. I told him I had a notarized letter from her parents stating that we have full guardianship over her while we’re here.”
All three dancers say they pleaded with police, telling them that Thompson had a right to be with Hurd. The girl, who is white, was handcuffed, placed in the back of a cop car and hauled off to Child Protective Services. Hurd and the other dancer are both African American.
Destiny Thompson, shocked when she found out what had taken place, was told that she would have to fly to Houston to get her daughter out. Landry was released back into the custody of her instructors 11 hours later after a series of phone calls.
In a statement, Houston police responded to the incident saying that “Given the age discrepancies between all involved, the fact that all three were from out of state, and the child had no relatives in the area … officers, in an abundance of caution, did their utmost to ensure her safety. In this instance, that involved further investigation by CPS.”
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Racial profiling at its finest?
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