Imagine you are a mother sending your 13-year-old baby 400 miles away so she can pursue her dream of dance. You're nervous, but you know she will be okay, because she is in the care of two people you trust: Her dance instructors. But suddenly your daughter is in police custody. And they are insisting you fly to Houston from Oklahoma to pick her up. Even though she has done nothing wrong. That's the scenario that Destiny Thompson faced when her daughter, Landry, was handcuffed by police and given to Child Protective Services. The problem seems to be that Landry, who is white, was with two black men -- her dance instructors.
The trio were exhausted and had just finished dance rehearsal when they pulled into a gas station to try and find their way back to their hotel. That's when the cops swooped in, asking the men, "Who's the girl?"
The pair, who are 29 and 22, explained that she was their dance student and that they had a notarized letter from her mother giving them guardianship during the trip. But it didn't matter. They put Landry in the squad car and took her to a shelter run by Child Protective Services.
Perhaps this WAS overkill, but at this point the cops suspected that Landry was a runaway, or that she had been taken against her will. They were just doing their job.
But once Landry's mom was apprised of the situation and explained that her daughter was in good hands, that's where things should have ended. The trio had plenty of proof that they were dance instructors and a student, NOT two pimps and their runaway, or whatever it is that the cops thought they were. Destiny had given her daughter a notarized letter of guardianship, her insurance card, her birth certificate, and a sheet with numerous emergency contact numbers.
Still she was not believed to have permission to be with the men.
Destiny says she had to make several calls to the police station and still no one would tell her why they had taken her daughter. She says:
She was with the people I wanted her to be with. She was with people I trusted. And now she was taken away from those people and in a shelter with people I didn’t know.
How horrifying. You give your daughter over to two men you have come to totally trust, only to have her with people you have never met before. And still no one is giving you a good explanation. In fact, the mom says that cops told her she would have to FLY to Houston to get her daughter.
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But after 11 hours, and more phone calls, and scanning her identification to send to the station, the police finally let her go. Does anyone really think this would have happened if the young men had been white? In fact, Destiny says that the cops asked her:
Are you aware your daughter is with two black men?
When she said yes, she knew that, she says her parenting was called into question!
It's great that cops have their eye out for young women -- but you can't just leave your common sense three states over. When a mom gets on the phone and tells you her daughter is okay, and when everyone's story checks out fine, then apologize and get the girl back to the people who were entrusted with her care.
Have you ever had your children travel out of state with non-relatives? How did it go?
Image via KHOU