A dream weekend of fun and dancing with top industry professionals turned into a waking nightmare for 13-year-old Landry Thompson when she was suddenly seized by police and forcibly removed from the care of her legal guardians for no reason other than that they are two black men.
While in Houston for dance training, Landry, of Oklahoma, and her two dance instructors, stopped at a gas station to find out how to get to their hotel.
Dead tired from a long day at the dance studio, they dozed off in the car, only to wake up and find themselves surrounded by police officers.
"They just pulled us out of the car and put our hands behind our backs like we were criminals," dance instructor Emmanuel Hurd told KHOU. "The officer asked me 'who’s the girl?' and I said 'she’s my student.'"
Landry was more than that: For the purpose of their weekend trip, Landry's parents had signed a notarized letter granting Hurd full guardianship over the girl.
But the officers ignored Hurd and his documentation, and handcuffed both him and his partner, Josiah Kelly, and placed them in the back of a cruiser.
Meanwhile, Landry was taken away from the scene and handed over to Child Protective Services.
"I was horrified," Landry's mom Destiny said, recalling the moment she learned of what had transpired. "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."
Eleven hours later, Landry was released back to Hurd like nothing happened.
Destiny is still waiting for an apology, or at least an explanation, but the police are refusing to comment.