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Saturday 20th September 2014
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Cops 'Regret' Arrest Of Black Film Producer

Wednesday, 27th August 2014 14:42

The Los Angeles Police Department has apologised for the mistaken arrest of a black film producer who it said looked like a bank robber.

Harvard graduate Charles Belk was detained on Friday as he left a restaurant to top up a parking meter before a pre-Emmy television awards party.

The 51-year-old says he was taken to Beverly Hills Police Headquarters, where he was photographed, finger-printed and held on $100,000 (£60,000) bail.

He says he was finally released six hours later after police reviewed surveillance video of the robbery and realised the man in custody was not the armed robbery suspect.

Mr Belk wrote on Facebook: "I get that the Beverly Hills Police Department didn't know that I was a well educated American citizen that had received a BS in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California, an MBA from Indiana University ? and an Executive Leadership Certificate from Harvard Business School.

"Hey, I was 'tall', 'bald', a 'male' and 'black', so I fit the description."

LAPD initially said Mr Belk had "matched the physical characteristics of the second suspect and was in the area of the bank shortly after the robbery".

On Tuesday, the department maintained it had "properly detained" him, but offered an apology.

"The Beverly Hills Police Department deeply regrets the inconvenience to Mr Belk and has reached out to him to express those regrets and further explain the circumstances," officials said in a statement.

A photo of Mr Belk sitting handcuffed on the kerbside at Wilshire Boulevard with officers standing over him has been shared more than 32,000 times on Facebook.