Houston police have some explaining to do — and they aren’t doing it!
Landry Thompson, a 13 year old dancer from Oklahoma, was visiting Houston with her African American instructor Emmanuel Hurd and her (also African American) dance partner Josiah Kelly to work with hip-hop artists at Planet Funk Academy and tape a video. After leaving the studio on Saturday night, the trio’s night took a turn for the worse. They had stopped at a nearby gas station to check the location of the hotel on the GPS and, exhausted from their day’s work, “dozed off,” Landry told KHOU.
Before they knew it, they said, police had surrounded the car. “They just pulled us out of the car and put our hands behind our backs like we were criminals,” said Hurd.
An officer asked Hurd, “Who’s the girl?” Hurd explained that she is his student and that he had a notarized letter from her parents granting Hurd and the other instructor full guardianship over her while they were on their trip. Thompson, Hurd, and the other unnamed instructor repeatedly told police their story but unfortunately, facts did not matter to the Houston Police Department that night.
Police took Thompson to Child Protective Services. When her mother found out, she was livid–partly because her daughter was taken from those she entrusted with ehr care, partly because she was asked if she was aware her daughter was with “two black men” and was lectured about how unsafe it is to allow a pretty white girl to be alone with those sorts of peoplle. “She was with the people I wanted her to be with. 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,” said Destiny Thompson. She explained that “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.”
She was told that she would have to fly to Houston to retrieve her daughter but, after repeated phone calls to officials, Landry was released back into the custody of her instructors.
The three would like an apology from police, and are considering legal action.
The department issued a statement, the HPD said that, “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.” Apparently this includes ignoring every single fact–including the mother’s own words–outside of Hurd and Kelly’s skin color.