• Tue, Dec 3 - 10:00 am ET

White Teen Taken From Her Two Guardians On Field Trip Who Just Happened To Be Black

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 6.10.22 AMThis is so outrageous. If I were Landry Thompson‘s mom I’d be raising hell over this. Landry, who is 13, travelled with her two male dance instructors to Houston to attend a dance clinic. The trio became tired and on their way to the hotel they fell asleep at a gas station parking lot. I mean, sure, that isn’t the smartest idea but either is driving when you can’t keep your eyes open. They were awakened by police who cuffed Landry, stuck her in the back of a police car, and refused to listen to her dance instructors who had a signed and notarized permission slip for having Landry with them. From KHOU.com:

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.

Destiny also said she would really appreciate an apology. I can’t imagine how scary this must have been for everyone involved. It takes a special type of person (and people) to care enough to work with teens and to take them to a seminar where they can learn from professionals and also take responsibility for them, it’s a lot of work being responsible for a kid much less one you aren’t even related to. I’m sure Destiny knows the dance instructors and trusts them and this is why she let her daughter go out of town with them. Landry wasn’t in distress and she explained to the police why she was with the men. It makes no sense why they took her away and stuck her in protective services for 11 hours. Plus, the fact they told Destiny she had to fly there to pick her daughter up is just absurd. I can’t help but think this never would have happened if Landry had been with two women of the same race.

I can see detaining the trio if they had no permission slip and no identification and Landry seemed upset or if the cops suspected drunk driving or something, but from this report I can see no reason why any of this happened. Except, ya know, racists. Hopefully they all get the apology they deserve.

(Image: Video)

What We're Reading:
Share This Post:
  • keelhaulrose

    Can you imagine what would have happened if two adult black men tried to check into a hotel with a teenaged white girl in Texas? There’s really no good solution to the tired driving conundrum here.
    There better be an apology forthcoming. If the dance instructor had been that woman from Dance Moms those cops would have been beaten into submission shortly after daring to wake the sleeping dragon.

  • Eric Strauss

    Wow. I am so glad I’m not a young black male. It’s crazy that stuff like this happens. I travel around with my Chinese students to various debate tournaments, and it never crosses my mind to worry that anyone might think it anything other than what it is – a coach and his debaters.

  • Eric Strauss

    This case is complicated by the young age of the males. Nevertheless…

    I think most white people have certain gut reactions when they see mixed race adult/child in public. To the extent that I think about it, I’m more likely to assume “adopted parent” when I see a white person with a child that’s of a different race, and step parent when I see a black or Asian person with a child that’s of a different race. I tend to conclude biological parent when the child is mixed.

    I’d be interested to hear how others react. I know it’s a tricky issue, but the reality we do react to the various stimuli of the world, including clothing, age, manner of speaking, and, yes, race, by making assumptions, right or wrong.

    • dcford

      the point here is that it’s not your place to assume anything. it’s not your business or your call. as the parent of a biracial child, it infuriates me that anyone feels like it’s their right or duty to figure out what my role in my child’s life is -am i the nanny? the step mom? how fucking ridiculous is that??? obviously this case is different than the day-to-day interaction you seem to be describing, but in general, people need to put their prejudgments away and just mind their own business. period.

    • Eric Strauss

      I agree with you. Minding one’s own business is preferable. A post-racial world is preferable. And yet, as this article so aptly demonstrates, we don’t live in one.

      I’m actually engaging here in an objective analysis of a reality. Analyzing a phenomenon is not the same as advocating it. Analysis requires, in fact, that one put away the indignation for a moment and consider the data.

      People make assumptions. At the very least, people think about that which they perceive as unusual. For example, a pale blond haired woman with a very dark child doesn’t fit expectations. Those two will draw some looks. Hell, my wife and I draw looks. I’m very tall and skinny (and white), and she’s very short and plump (and Mexican). What are those people thinking when they look at us? I’m curious.

      Is it possible to talk about what some of those assumptions are without incurring so triple-question-marked a response? I too am the parent of a biracial child. Granted, she basically looks white, but her grandmother is an immigrant from Mexico who still mostly speaks Spanish around the house.

    • March

      Making assumptions is okay. Nobody should try to dictate anyone else’s thoughts and opinions. Even looking is, to an extent, okay and we shouldn’t guilt-trip each other for gut reactions like that.

      BUT.

      The cops in this story went far above, beyond, and over the line. They abused their position to go by their prejudiced assumptions. They acted on their gut feelings without checking them against the facts. This is wrong and it should be condemned.

    • Eric Strauss

      Oh absolutely! Believe me, abuse of police powers, and the violation of the civil liberties of citizens is an issue I spend a lot of time reading about it. In no way, shape or form am I defending these cops. I’d like to see them both lose their jobs.

    • Evelyn

      Where I live everyone I know who isn’t white is in a relationship with someone who is or is in a relationship that predates moving to the UK. In fairness to the rest of the world this isn’t because the small city I live in is full of nicer, less racist people. It is because most people here are white so there would not be enough people to choose the perfect partner from if you were not white and dated your own race exclusively. The other thing is that there are a lot of kids at my local school picked up by childminders so unless you know the parent and child you can’t always make assumptions about the relationship between a child and the adult they are with.

  • Zettai

    Nothing like a good dose of racism in the morning. I feel horrible for everyone involved except the racist-ass police. If I eventually have a son, will I have to give him these warnings?:

    1) Don’t walk alone in a predominantly white neighborhood, especially if it is raining. Someone will think you are a burglar and kill you.

    2) If you are in a car accident and need help, do not go to a white person’s house. They or the police will think you are a burglar and kill you.

    3) Do not go traveling with a companion of the same color and another companion who is white. There is not strength in numbers, only fear! The police will think you are a kidnapper. Hopefully they will not kill you.

    And the list goes on… and on…

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      This made me kinda teary because it is so true and so shitty

    • Rachel Sea

      I wish you were wrong, it makes me hate people.

    • JLH1986

      This reminds me of Crash when Terrance Howard’s wife wants to call the police but can’t…and when the same cop totally molests her. There is nothing they can do because they aren’t white. :(

    • BruntLIVE

      U can do something make an example future cops will think about

    • Evelyn

      Those are things that you should never, ever have to say to anyone. It is truly awful that you would be right in giving warnings like that in some places, and stories like this show you are. I hope it is not true of everywhere, and I hope that things would be different by the time your hypothetical future child would need those warnings.

    • SunnyD847

      When he started driving my nephew got the talk from his dad and grandfather (a retired cop) about how to behave if/when he ever got pulled over. Driving while black is bad enough, what if he’s with a white girl? I am so afraid for him since killing black teenagers seems to have no consequences in our society.

  • DatNanny

    Wow. This absolutely wouldn’t have happened if she was traveling with two white women.

    I can understand the police checking the situation out – an obviously young girl sleeping in a car with two older, but still young men does send up red flags – but cuffing her? Turning her over to CPS? What the hell? If they were somehow worried the permission slips were fake in an elaborate kidnapping scenario – it seriously would have taken one phone call to Landry’s mother to verify she was where she was supposed to be, with who she was supposed to be.

    • Sara610

      You’re certainly right, but I wonder if the difference would have been so much race or gender. In my job, I oversee and plan a lot of overnight trips involving youth and adults, and we have a rule that a) all chaperones must be at least 25 and b) there must be at least one chaperone of the same gender as every kid. In other words, I would never send a 13-year-old girl on an overnight trip alone with two 22-year-old male chaperones, regardless of race.

      I don’t doubt that in this case the response was racially motivated, and as soon as it became clear that the men were acting as the girl’s legal guardians and she had parental permission to be on the trip, that should have been it. But I also don’t think that had she been travelling alone with two unrelated white MEN in their early to mid 20s, that no one would have checked into it. Young girl traveling alone with older, non-related men throws up red flags, no matter what.

    • SunnyD847

      But if they were white the “unrelated” part would not have been obvious and this would not have occurred

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    The long list of shit you apparently aren’t allowed to do if you’re black is ridiculous, and every time a story like this comes out, it only highlights how endless it is. How racist do you have to be to ignore everyone’s explanations, permission slips and a parent’s information? “Well, ma’am, none of that really matters in light of the fact we’ve got some black men here. I mean, they’re black. What do you expect us to do?”

  • scallywag

    So we’re gonna pretend that being with two unrelated white men would have resulted in the same response?

    http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2013/12/landry-thompson-hauled-away-african-american-guardians/

  • Sara610

    So, I know that this probably isn’t going to be popular, but here it is anyway:

    In my job, I regularly plan and oversee overnight trips for youth and adults. I would never, EVER in a million years send a 13-year-old girl on an overnight trip with two male chaperones, neither of whom is related to her, who are both in their early 20s. Race has nothing to do with it, although in this particular case I don’t doubt that the reaction was racially motivated.

    And my parents would never have let me GO on a trip alone with two unrelated males in their 20s as a 13-year-old.

    Every time a child is kidnapped, we wring our hands and say, “WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TRY TO HELP?!?” If I saw a young girl in the backseat of a car looking “drugged” (even though she was just tired), with two young men who don’t appear to be related to her–white, black or purple striped–yes, I would call the police to check and make sure that she’s not in any danger. Race has nothing to do with it. If that makes me meddling or sanctimonious, so be it.

    • Wannabevenus

      That is probably the wisest approach. It’s not only minority men who have suffered from being around underage girls and having things misunderstood. It’s a sad world we live in, I’m afraid. I have no use for most police as so many seem to be on a power trip and these guys were obviously dickish to the nth degree. Once they had proof, there was no reason to pursue things. But for these instructors’ own sake, they should never be alone & unchaperoned with underaged girls. I once took my youngest son and his two buddies on an overnight trip to a local amusement park. We all stayed in one hotel room. the boys were 13. They slept in one bed and I in the other. It occurred to me later that had I been a man sharing a room with a 13 year old daughter and 2 friends, it could’ve been really misconstrued and considered quite inappropriate.

    • Kelly

      You really call the police anytime you see a child with an adult who is a different color than them?

      You must be exhausted.

    • Sara610

      Read what I wrote again. What you took from my reply isn’t even close to what I said.
      We can have a rational, adult conversation when you’re able to stick to the points actually made, not setting up a straw-man argument.

    • CrazyLogic

      I’m guessing you probably have a similar rule about boy’s traveling with women? (I totally agree with the policy by the way, but I’d have the same rule for boys)

    • Sara610

      Yes, the same rule applies regardless of gender. We have a policy that a) all chaperones and youth advisors must be at least 25, and b) on overnight trips, there must be at least one chaperone of the same gender as every student on the trip.

    • SunnyD847

      What you do in your organization isn’t really relevant. In this case the mom had given her permission and that’s all that matters. The police operated from a racially biased assumption and then overstepped by not immediately apologizing and releasing them once the situation was explained.

  • BruntLIVE

    White people are turning into terrorists, who needs middle eastern people.

  • Kelly

    They thought she was kidnapped so they handcuffed her?

    What a load of shit. They wouldn’t have handcuffed her if they genuinely thought she was a child in distress. Sounds like a couple of racist good old boys who saw a white girl with some black man and decided to teach her a lesson for being a “n*gger loving slut.” We have a lot of people with that attitude where I’m from. It’s a big part of the reason I moved.

    • Alexandra

      Yea I hate to say I agree with that it’s so disgusting but that’s what it sounds like to me too. If you’re worried about the welfare of a CHILD you do not HANDCUFF her.
      End of story.

    • CrazyLogic

      I honestly thought they assumed she was a runaway since she didn’t break down and go “you found me!”

      Hence the handcuffs to teach her a lesson. Partially for being a “little whore” but also for “this is what we do with runaways little shit.”

  • SunnyD847

    My husband and I, both white, once took our bi-racial nephew out for a day. He got sick and started having a tantrum in a public place. We were putting him in the car & he was screaming “I want my mom!” & “I don’t want to go with you!” & no one did anything! I was grateful not to have to get into a big thing with security/police since we had no proof of his relationship to us, but I couldn’t help thinking that if our ethnicities were reversed the cops would have definitely been called. Did they assume we were not kidnappers because we were white or did they just not care about a little black kid being abducted?