Landry Thompson, a 13-year-old dance student, was taken into custody after falling asleep in her teacher's car in a bizarre case that many feel involves racial profiling.
The teen traveled from Oklahoma to Houston along with instructor Emmanuel Hurd 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, the exhausted group stopped off at nearby gas station.
“We were on the GPS trying to figure out where the hotel was," said Thompson of the night in question. "And we sat there and we dozed off.”
Before they knew it, the police showed up and surrounded the car.
“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.'”
Hurd, the instructor, is African-American. Thompson is white.
“I told him I had a notarized letter from her parents stating that we have full guardianship over her while we’re here,” he said, but it didn't change much.
The two of them and another dancer with them say they pleaded with the police repeatedly telling them their story, but 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 was shocked. “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. I would love an apology."
Thompson was told she’d have to fly to Houston to get her daughter out. But 11 hours later, following repeated phone calls to officials, the issue resolved.
Landry was released back into the custody of her instructors, though police officials still aren’t commenting about what happened amid the controversy.