All of us must be willing to take our stories forward for there to ever be justice.
West Hollywood, CA, USA -- Fitting The Description founder and executive director Charles Belk issued the following statement about the detainment and handcuffing of entertainer Wyclef Jean because he was "fitting the description" and his call for a formal investigation into the matter by the West Hollywood Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department.
"It's inspiring to hear that Wyclef Jean is calling for a formal investigation. More attention needs to continuously be brought to those incidents like Wyclef's, because it gives society a chance to possibly disclose the underlying cause. We seem to focus on only those incidents where an apparently innocent Black man ends up dead, and at that point, while you may or may not have some video, you indeed only have one side of the story, because, unfortunately, the other side can't be told. I was fortunate to be able to tell my side of the story, and to see someone with the celebrity status of Wyclef be willing to take his story forward in search of the truth is what we always should do. All of us, need to take our stories forward. Don't think that just because you're not a famous entertainer or a "Hollywood Producer", that people won't listen. They WILL listen. Social media is definitely listening, and it has millions of ears! We have to all be willing to get M.A.D., and Make A Difference. I strongly encourage the new commander of the West Hollywood Station, Captain Sergio A. Aloma, and West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister to honor Mr. Jean's request and launch an investigation immediately."
On August 22, 2014, Charles Belk was mistakenly identified as an armed bank robber because he fit the description of a tall, bald, Black male. Although Belk was held on the curb in handcuffs for 45 minutes, and then arrested and held under a $100,000 bail for 6 hours, he was later released as innocent. Since his arrest, Charles Belk, a long-time West Hollywood-adjacent resident, launched a nationwide effort, #AutoErase, through the non-profit Fitting The Description, to educate and inform those about the perils of wrongful arrest records, and engage legislation to alleviate the burden and costs incurred by the innocent to remove those arrest records. The legislation has been signed into law in four states and is now current legislation in 14 states.
About Fitting The Description
Fitting The Description, a 501.c.3, tax exempt, non-profit organization, was established to help build awareness of wrongful detentions and arrests that occur each day because an individual "fit the description." The organization helps educate and inform others about the perils of wrongful arrests records, and advocates for alleviating the burden and costs incurred by the innocent to remove those arrest records.
Fitting The Description Inc.
PO Box 93181
Los Angeles, CA 90093