Landry Thompson has been dancing since she was 7. For the past few years she's been practicing hip-hop routines in Oklahoma and dreaming about one day being able to travel to Houston to dance with Chachi Gonzales at the Planet Funk Academy.
Her parents made that dream come true this past weekend when they allowed her to fly to Texas with her dance instructor, Emmanuel Hurd, 29, and her dance partner, Josiah Kelly, 22.
The three spent the better part of the day at the dance studio and even took part in a video shoot. The exhausted trio left, ate dinner and stopped at a gas station around 3 a.m. to program their GPS to find their hotel.
"Everything was going amazing. It was a beautiful day—and then everything went bad," Hurd told ABC News.com.
According to Hurd, he dozed off and awoke to police surrounding the car. Hurd and Kelly were taken out of the car and told not to worry, that they wouldn't be arrested, just detained, Hurd told the news station.
"[The officer] puts the handcuffs on very, very tight [and] throws me in the back and does the same to Josiah," Hurd said. "All the while I'm looking at Landry. She's terrified."
Landry, who was still in the car crying, called her mother on her cellphone. She tried to hand the phone to the officers hoping her mother could clear things up. The cops refused, Landry told ABC News.com.
The officers began checking for her name on a list of runaways, and when they couldn't find it they were convinced that Landry was giving them a fake name.
A police officer eventually took Landry's phone and spoke to her mother.
"He got on the phone and he said, 'Are you aware your daughter is in Houston, Texas, with two black men?' And I said, 'Yes, I am aware of that,' " Landry's mother, Destiny Thompson, told ABC News.com. "Then he started mumbling stuff about my parenting, why I would let her do that, and then he proceeded to tell me the people she was with were intoxicated or on something. There's no possible way these men were intoxicated, that's not how they live," Destiny told ABC News.com. "I knew right then I had some trouble.
"[Hurd] is somebody we know well," she said. "His wife and kids spent the night at my house last night. These are not people that we kind of know. These are close family friends that we trust explicitly with our children. They just happen to be black."
Hurd told the news station that he kept pleading with the officers from the back seat of the police car. Had he had a chance to explain, Hurd could have shown the officers forms from Landry's mother designating him as her guardian for the duration of the trip, her birth certificate and her insurance card, among other forms.
Hurd said one officer said to him, "Sir, you've got to understand, you two men are black and she's white."
Landry was eventually handcuffed and put in the back of a car and put in Child Protective Services custody, and Hurd and Kelly were let go. After Landry's mother contacted the Tulsa police for help, her daughter was finally released around 11:30 a.m., back to the two men from whom she'd been taken, ABC News.com reports.
"Given the age discrepancies between all involved, the fact that all three were from out of state, and the child had no relatives in the area, officers, in an abundance of caution, did their utmost to ensure her safety," the Houston Police Department said in a statement the news station reports. "In this instance, that involved further investigation by CPS."
The police department declined to answer additional questions from ABC News.com about the incident.
Destiny Thompson said she has an attorney, and Hurd and Kelly are exploring taking legal action.
Hurd knows that race played a huge role in what happened that night in Houston when a girl's dream of dancing turned into a nightmare.
"Racial profiling right now is really bad in America," Hurd said.
Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager shot and killed in Florida, comes to Hurd's mind when talking with the news station about what happened that night.
"What I do know is that [Trayvon] is not alive to speak out about it. He's not alive to say his side, but we are, so we are definitely speaking out," he told the news station. "We're definitely going to continue to speaking out about this situation because it hasn't stopped, and it needs to."
Read more at ABC News.com.