Moral Low Ground

Civil Liberties

Houston Cops Handcuff White Teen Traveling with Black Guardians, Place Her in CPS Custody

Thompson (L), Hurd and Kelly (KHOU screen grab)

Thompson (L), Hurd and Kelly (KHOU screen grab)

A white Oklahoma teen traveling to Texas with her black dance instructors was detained and handcuffed by Houston police last weekend before being remanded to the custody of Child Protective Services.

KHOU reports Landry Thompson, a 13-year-old from Tulsa with a passion for dancing, had her parents’ written permission to travel to Houston with her instructor, 29-year-old Emmanuel Hurd, and her dance partner, 22-year-old Josiah Kelly. The trio planned on spending the weekend dancing and training in Houston. After working all day in a dance studio, the group stopped at a nearby gas station when they suddenly found themselves surrounded by police cars.

“We were on our GPS trying to figure out where the hotel was,” Hurd told KHOU.

When the police showed up, Thompson said she was “kind of freaked out and surprised.”

Thompson: "Freaked out and surprised" (KHOU screen grab)

Thompson: “Freaked out and surprised” (KHOU screen grab)

“They just pulled us out of the car and put our hands behind our backs like we were criminals,” Hurd said.

When interrogated about the young girl’s identity, Hurd informed officers that she was his student and that he had written permission to transport her across state lines.

“I told him I had a notarized letter from her parents stating that we have full guardianship over her while we’re here,” Landry explained to KHOU.

Apparently, the officers did not want to hear their story.

“They still put handcuffs on me and it really scared me,” Thompson told KHOU. “And they put me in the back of a cop car and I was terrified.”

Thompson was then placed in the custody of Child Protective Services against her will. Her mother, Destiny Thompson, told KHOU she was “horrified” by the group’s ordeal.

“She was with the people I wanted her to be with,” said Thompson. “She was with people I trusted. And she was taken away from those people and in a shelter with people I didn’t know.”

According to the New York Daily News, Houston police asked the teen’s mother if she was “aware that [her] daughter is with two black men?” When she said she approved the trip, the officer allegedly “called into question her parenting” skills.

Thompson said she was told she would have to fly to Texas to secure her daughter’s release. But after 11 hours of phone calls to various officials, the teen was released back into the custody of the two men she was traveling with.

Hurd told Huffington Post he believes the trio was the victim of racial profiling.

“Because of the way society is, that was my first thought,” he said. “The cop even told me that.”

Hurd said that he and Kelly were also handcuffed. They were not read their rights, nor were they given any explanation of what was happening to them, he claimed.

The Houston Police Department refuted the claims of racial profiling.

“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,” the department said in a statement to KHOU.

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