The following irresponsible police action reported by KHOU’s Rucks Russell should scare many. A 13-year-old dancer, Landry Thompson, and her two dance teachers traveled from Oklahoma to Houston, TX. They had planned to train all weekend with some of the best in dance industry, but their plans went awry. Could the events that follow have something to do with Landry Thompson being white and her dance instructors being black?
Here’s the video:
[flickr video=11167018235 secret=c295c82ea8 w=550 h=309]
Why did Houston police handcuff Landry Thompson and her dance teachers?
When Landry Thompson and her two dance teachers left the studio Saturday night, they were exhausted. They stopped at a gas station to find their hotel via GPS. Out of nowhere they were surrounded by the Houston police. The Houston police dragged them out of the car and handcuffed all three of them.
“I was kind of freaked out and surprised by it,” said Landry Thompson.
Landry’s dance teacher, Emmanuel Hurd, added:
“They just pulled us out of the car. Put our hands behind out backs like we were criminals. He asked me; who is the girl? She is my student. I said I have a notarized letter from her parents stating that I have full guardianship over her while we are here.”
Landry Thompson and her dance teachers said they pleaded with the police and told the police their story repeatedly. It did not matter to the Houston police.
Landry Thompson told reporters:
“They still put handcuffs on me. And it really scared me. And they put me in the back of the cop car. I was terrified.”
Landry Thompson was then taken to Child Protective Services. Her mother, Destiny Thompson exclaimed:
“I was horrified. She was with the people I wanted her to be with. She was with people who were safe who I knew would take care of he. Yet they had taken her away from those people and now she was in a shelter, wherever she was with people I didn’t know.”
CPS told Destiny Thompson that she would have to fly to Houston to get her daughter. After many phone calls with various officials, Landry Thompson was finally released back into the custody of her dance teachers.
“I would love an apology,” said Landry Thompson’s mother. “They owe her an apology.”
Soon after, the trio was back at the dance studio. They intend to leave Houston on Monday afternoon. The Houston Police Dept. (HPD) has not been responding to inquiries as to what happened.
Were Landry Thompson and dance instructors victims of stereotyping and racism?
Why did the Houston police believe they had to react as they did? Does it have anything to do with the young dancer being a young white girl and the two dance instructors being young black males? If the two instructors were white, would the police officers have reacted in the same manner? The dance instructors had a signed, notarized document that said they were the young girl’s guardians. What else could they have done to avoid being treated like common criminals?