New legislation around wrongful arrest records has been implemented in Rhode Island. The new law saw it’s inception around an arrest in California dating back to 2014. Law enforcement are now directed to destroy wrongful arrest records of individuals concerned. Tuesday saw a signing ceremony drawing attention to the legislation. The new legislation is known as an “auto-erase” law. This protects reputations and prevents stigma of those that have been detained in error. Also those considered to be a suspect. The new legislation revolves around L.A. resident Charles Belk. He is now pushing for the bill State wide. Belk was detained in Beverley Hills by police following a bank robbery in 2014. Although released after some hours at a later date he found the arrest record online.
Mr Belk described his ordeal as “life altering”. The police dept of Beverly Hills expressed regret following the detention. While an apology at the time was not forthcoming the police dept. put forward that Mr Belk matched a suspected bank robber in both physical appearance and clothing. He told how he was made to sit on the curb in front of rush hour traffic in the heat. Surrounded by six police cars, handcuffed and searched and sat back on the curb. After being taken to Police HQ in Beverley Hills a $100,000 bail was posted. He was finger printed and photographed and had accusations of being an accessory and armed bank robbery. Claims that for some time he was denied his rights. No explanation of charges, no phone call, no access to his lawyer. After reviewing footage confirming he was not involved he was released. However he had been detained for six hours.
After the event Beverly Hills PD advised they deeply regretted Mr Belk’s inconvenience. They further contacted him to express regret. The legislation over wrongful arrest records is ongoing and further being promoted in Illinois, Colorado and North Carolina.