Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Diff'rent Strokes!

Racism? Landry Thompson (left), 13, was with her black male dance instructors in Houston on Saturday when she was taken into protective custody by police without being told why
Landry Thompson with her dance instructors. The instructors were her legal guardians and the Houston Police didn't buy their story. Now a controversy is brewing over racial profiling.

Landry Thompson, a White teenage girl living in Oklahoma didn't expect this to happen. The aspiring dancer was with her trainers were stopped by the Houston CPD.

The police questioned why is a young White girl hanging around with Black men?

They said they're her Black legal guardians. The police didn't buy that. So they were arrested.

KHOU (Houston) reports that the dancers were pretty shaken and upset over the whole ordeal.

“It definitely is life to me,” said Emmanuel Hurd.  “It means the world.  It’s everything to me.”

That’s why the trio from Oklahoma traveled to Houston in the first place.  To spend the weekend dancing and training with some of the industry’s best.

But that dream of a visit took an ugly turn shortly after leaving the studio Saturday night, when the group, exhausted from their work, stopped off at nearby gas station.

“We were on the GPS trying to figure out where the hotel was. And we sat there and we dozed off.”

They said before they knew it, the police showed up and surrounded the car.

“And so I was kind of freaked out and surprised by it,” said Landry.

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

“The officer asked me 'who’s the girl?' and I said 'she’s my student,'” said Hurd.

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

All three dancers said say they pleaded with the police repeatedly telling them their story, but that in the end, none of that seemed to matter.”

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

Landry was taken to Child Protective Services.  Her mom couldn't believe it when she found out.

“I was horrified,” said Destiny Thompson. “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.”

Thompson claimed she was told she’d have to fly to Houston to get her daughter out.  But 11 hours later, following repeated phone calls to officials,  Landry was released back into the custody of her instructors.

“I would love an apology,” said Destiny.

Police officials still aren't commenting about what happened.

The group of dancers plans to return to Oklahoma Monday afternoon.

I guess the Houston Police believed that professional Black dancers are criminals!

This isn't Diff'rent Strokes. This was a reality show with real life drama.

In the synopsis of Diff'rent Strokes, Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges as Arnold and Willis Jackson were two African American boys from Harlem who are taken in by a rich white Park Avenue businessman named Phillip Drummond (Conrad Bain) and his daughter Kimberly (Dana Plato), for whom their deceased mother previously worked.

The series made stars out of child actors Gary Coleman, Todd Bridges, and Dana Plato, and became known for the "very special episodes" in which serious issues such as racism, illegal drug use, and child sexual abuse were dramatically explored.

After the show had ended, the lives of these stars were later plagued by legal troubles and drug addiction, as the stardom and success they achieved while on the show eluded them after the series was cancelled, with both Plato (1999) and Coleman (2010)  having early deaths. Bain died in 2013.

Todd Bridges is the only surviving member of the cast.


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