Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


Beverly Hills Police Admit They 'Should Have Done A Better Job' When Detaining The Wrong Man

Charles Belk was detained for six hours by BHPD (Photo via Facebook)
Before you
Dear reader, we're asking you to help us keep local news available for all. Your financial support keeps our stories free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls. We believe when reliable local reporting is widely available, the entire community benefits. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.

The Beverly Hills Police Department has more to say regarding the six-hour detainment of a TV producer who they mistook for a robbery suspect. Today, Police Chief David Showden admitted in a statement that there were "breakdowns" in the way the department handled things, L.A. Times reports, and that they're taking the allegations of Charles Belk "very seriously." While Showden defended the arrest, he concedes they "should have done a better job once Mr. Belk was taken into custody."

The statement also said that the department is looking into how it can review video faster, and how to provide someone who has been detained with a phone and a lawyer in a more "prompt" fashion.

Last week, Charles Belk was in Beverly Hills for pre-Emmys events and was on his way to check his parking meter on Wilshire Boulevard and La Cienega Boulevard when he was approached by a police officer. Less than a block away, a bank robbery had just occurred at a Citibank. Police were looking for the Purse Packer Bandit and her accomplice, who was described as a tall, bald, black male in a green shirt. And coincidentally, there Belk was—a tall, bald, black man in a green shirt.

The officer handcuffed Belk and made him sit on the curb. Belk was then taken to the station and detained for six hours until police reviewed footage from the bank and concluded he was not the person they were looking for.

Support for LAist comes from

Belk posted about the event on his Facebook page and his story went viral. Belk said he was denied a phone call, never read his Miranda rights, and was not easily able to speak to a lawyer. He also didn't understand why it took investigators so long to just look at the video footage and realize their error. After Belk's post went viral, BHPD released a statement sort of apologizing.

This left Belk—and others—with lots of questions. Why the six hours to just look at the tape? Why not figure out who Belk was and verify what he was doing that day, or that he'd been eating at the restaurant he was coming from during the time of the robbery? Why not let him make the phone call? What about Belk's claim that he was never read his rights? We've all seen at least one episode of Law & Order, and while procedural crime dramas are not real life, some transparency would really help understand how this happened. So, whatever is figured out during this review, we're sure interested in hearing about it.

When it comes to the Purse Packing Bandit, BHPD did manage to arrest Brianna Clemons Kloutse, 47, on suspicion of armed robbery two days after Belk's wrongful arrest. Kloutse is accused of robbing nine banks over the last two years, on top of two attempted robberies, CBS LA reports. As of today, her alleged accomplice has yet to turn up.