Civil rights activists called for an ordinance prohibiting racial profiling in Beverly Hills on Friday in the wake of last week’s arrest of a black film producer who was mistaken for a bank robber.
Charles Belk spent about 6 hours in custody before Beverly Hills police investigating a nearby bank robbery realized they had the wrong man.
Police stated that Belk was arrested because he matched the physical characteristics of the bank robber and was positively identified by a witness.
On Thursday, the Beverly Hills Police Department announced they would begin an internal investigation into claims that Belk was not allowed a telephone call, was not given timely access to his attorney, was not advised of his Miranda rights and could have been released much earlier had police viewed video evidence sooner.
“We are taking these allegations very seriously,” Beverly Hills Police Chief David Snowden stated in a news release. “We (BHPD) take pride in the professionalism of our department and the high quality service that we provide to those who live, work and visit our community.”
Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, says their call for a change in policy is not just about Belk’s case.
“We want to be clear, it’s not about Charles Belk. It’s about the bigger issue of racial profiling,” Hutchinson said.