An Oklahoma teen's parents are accusing police in Houston of racial profiling after the girl and her companions for a dance event were stopped by authorities and she was taken to child protective services.
According to KHOU-TV, the incident happened Sunday when 13-year-old Landry Thompson from Tulsa, Okla., was in Houston to film a hip-hop dance video. Thomson was accompanied by her dance instructor, 29-year-old Emmanuel Hurd, and her dance partner, 22-year-old Josiah Kelly. Thompson is white and the two men are black.
Landry Thompson sits with her two traveling companions after the incident. The men believe the situation would have been different if she had been black or if they had been white. (Image source: KHOU-TV)
The trio was stopped around 3 a.m. at a gas station in Texas while they were using GPS to locate a nearby hotel.
“They were convinced I was a runaway,” Thompson told KHOU.
Destiny Thompson, Landry's mother, received a call from authorities.
“’Are you aware your daughter is with two black men?’ When I said ‘Yes, I’m aware of that,’ he called into questioning our parenting,” the mother told the news station.
Landry Thompson's parents said her hip-hop instructor, Emmanuel Hurd, is a family friend. They provided him with documents they thought he might need on the trip to Texas to film a dance video, but it turned out they weren't enough. (Image source: KHOU-TV)
All three of the dancers were handcuffed and Landry Thompson eventually was taken to child protective services.
"[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 then waited for the teenager -- outside CPS because they had been asked to leave the lobby -- until she was released six hours later.
Destiny Thompson said she sent her daughter to Texas for the shoot with all the documents she thought she might need.
“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,” Destiny Thompson told KHOU.
In a separate report 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.”
Watch KHOU-TV's report:
Houston police said in a statement 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."
Destiny Thompson, Hurd and Kelly don't fault the officers for initially asking questions about the situation, but consider it racial profiling that the teenager was not released when the appropriate documents were produced and confirmation was given by her mother.
Destiny Thompson told ABC the men are "close family friends that we trust explicitly with our children."
"They just happen to be black," she continued.
The teen's mother and Hurd are considering taking legal action for the incident.
KHOU also reported that Destiny said she would still "love an apology" from authorities.